By Ryan Flynn
My Quiet Times lately have focused on the theme of courage. Simultaneously, I have been reading John F. Kennedy’s Pulitzer Prize winning Book, Profiles in Courage. From this I have thought through one quote. “Great crises produce great men, and great deeds of courage.”
Here are some thoughts:
It Takes Great Crisis
With no battle, there is no place for courage; courage can only exist in the context of battle. Opposition and fear must be real forces. Again on the JFK kick, I picked up the most recent issue of TIME Magazine, interested in its feature story titled, “What We Can Learn From JFK.” The article highlights lessons learned under President Kennedy’s leadership during the Cold War, and their relevance in today’s War on Terror. The purpose of the article is revealed in the author’s question, “What is the best way for America to navigate through a world where its enemies seem everywhere and nowhere at the same time?”
I found the War on Terror as an insightful analogy for our fight as disciples; an enemy that seems everywhere and nowhere at the same time. Satan, daily terrorizing our lives (“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy...”, John 10:10). My perspective on Satan and the crisis I’m daily a part of is changing! Often I see Satan kind of like the bad, but popular kid in high school, a rebel. He might get me into trouble, sometimes he’s a jerk, but he’s kind of cool, and honestly is sometimes more fun to be around. Certainly not as a thief (stealing from me!), or worse yet, a terrorist (out to kill and destroy… me!). So I let him around. I stay close, not too close, just around. NO, he’s either one or the other. Is it Zack Morris, or Bin Laden? It is a big difference!
Anyways, there is no such thing as a small crisis.
It Takes Great People
When they saw the courage… they were astonished and they took note that these men had been with Jesus. (Acts 4:13)
Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be men of courage; be strong. Do everything in love. (1 Corinthians 16:13 – 14)
The church can get along without courage. It will survive for a time, but it will never be great. It takes courageous people to make it great.
Many are the fruits of courage in the church: changed lives (for both current and future disciples), changed cities, and a changed society. Courageous men and the courageous church are noticed by the world (“…they took not[ice]e…”). True Christians are easily recognizable people, heavily persecuted, strongly opposed, and viciously slandered, but in the end, they are victorious.
It Takes Great Deeds
So, here are a few that I’ll be doing:
- Initiate with someone who knows you well; confess specific sin in your life.
- Have a conversation about God with someone on the bus; invite them to church.
- Have a conversation about God with a co-worker; invite them to church.
- Do something memorable and unexpected for the poor you see each day.
- Lastly, be creative, even courageous, and make up your own!