Idols and Heroes

by Judi Chow

I remembered watching the American Idol several years ago. I was ambivalent about it, because although I enjoy watching these average Americans rise to stardom, yet I have this thing against idols. It is hard to deny the fact that millions of Americans dream of becoming the next idol. We know what the Bible says about idols, but what is the meaning of idol? Dictionary.com defines it as: an image used as an object of worship, a false god, or one that is adored, often blindly or excessively. It is so true that idols often wanted to be adored and worshipped; they wanted to be the center of attention, usually for selfish intentions.

Both idols and heroes stand out. Seemingly you look up to both, but do you really? You can clearly tell who is who, can’t you? Have you met any heroes lately? I can’t help but think of those New York firemen and policemen who risked and sacrificed their lives during the 911 terrorist attack. They didn’t mean to call attention to themselves; they acted courageously out of a sense of duty and honor. These are the heroes I look up to. I don’t know too many famous heroes personally, but I do know a number of people who are willing to sacrifice their lives. These are the unsung heroes laboring on the frontline of the mission fields. Missionaries who strive to imitate Christ’s humility set forth in Philippians 2. Like Christ, who gave up being the Prince of peace, took up the role of a servant and finished the difficult task from the Father. These missionaries also gave up the comfort of familiarity, took up the challenge of winning the heathens, and are trying to finish the task set before them. Some people might know about them, but not many people really take the time to get to know them. After all, their value system is so different and what do you say to a missionary who came back home on furlough after the “When did you get back?” and “When are you leaving again?”

What is the difference between idols and heroes? The key, my friend, is character. It is not the packaging but the content. It is not what you can do but who you are. It is not how successful you are but how significant you are in people’s lives. Oh, how I wish there were more people who desire to be an everyday, unsung hero than those waiting in line hoping to be the next world idol.


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