Unsung Heroes

True heroism is... very undramatic. It is not the urge to surpass all others at whatever cost, but the urge to serve others, at whatever cost. 

   Arthur Ashe

Yesterday, the sky was filled with smoke. I am looking out at a blue sky this morning because of two remarkable things that happened last night. The first, and most important, is that God answered our prayers. The second reason for being able to look at a blue sky this morning is because of heroes. Not the kind of heroes that you read about in books or see on t.v., but real heroes. Unsung heroes. Our heroes.

For a good part of yesterday afternoon and late into the evening, our unsung heroes fought a large fire just west of our town. The fire was fed by a combination of tall grass, a six month drought, and high winds that swirled and changed direction every few minutes. These men and women came from all over the panhandle of Texas - some paid, some not. They came to rescue their neighbors, their neighbor's homes, their neighbor's livestock and, to a very real extent, their neighbor's way of life.

They breathed in smoke for hours - first in the heat from the flames, and later in the cold of the evening and from their damp clothes. Now many will be sick for weeks because of what they put their bodies through, but they will answer the next call all the same, not because they have any desire to be recognized as heroes, but because they have that urge to serve others. Today when we thank them, and we will thank them, they will pass it off as nothing. But, it isn't "nothing". - it's the stuff that real heroes are made of.

They have, in a small way, what Christ had for each one of us. He spent His life in service to a people who were often unmindful and sometimes ungrateful, but He served all the same. Then, He was arrested and spat upon and beaten and put to death in an almost unspeakable manner for having performed that service. He didn't do all of that to be recognized as a hero, He did it because of an urge to serve others, and to save others, regardless of the cost. That urge is strange to many, but it has a name: It is love. I think that our heroes understand that noble urge to serve just a little bit more today... and we thank them with all of our hearts!

Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends. 

   John 15:13, NIV