It’s your average weeknight evening and the family of Incredibles have just finished a dysfunctional dinner. Unfamiliar with the Incredibles? Let me introduce them to you. Robert Parr, aka Mr Incredible, is strong, powerful and indestructible. In a word, he is incredible. Helen Parr, aka Elastigirl, as her name might suggest, has the attributes of elastic. Able to stretch in many different ways and contort herself into shapes and sizes. Violet Parr, can turn invisible and Dash Parr, who as his name suggests can go very, very fast. Together they are the Incredibles, able to do amazing things that only stories are made of.
On this average evening they are having a bad day. Robert Parr has gone out for the evening with his old friend Frozone, telling their wives they are going bowling. He longs to be super again, so they seek chances to rescue people from their troubles. Such a chance arrives as they save people from a burning building, knocking it down in the process and return home. Well, this average weeknight is about to get loud. Mr. and Mrs. Parr begin to argue about the value of hiding their super powers, each stating their own case as to why they should be heard and why their point is worth while. The argument ends with Mrs Helen Parr shouting, “IT IS NOT ABOUT YOU!”
Super hero movies are the bastions of the message that there are people with incredible attributes and powers that when called upon, can save you from any crisis. I have met many heroes in my life, although none of them could dodge bullets, become invisible or run faster then the speed of light. What made each one of these heroes incredible is that they gave of themselves into the situation and people they were with to help them in ways they didn’t have to. Single parents and grandparents raising their grandkids are two of these, along with Mums who carry and give birth to beautiful babies. A hero is defined as “a person who is admired for their courage, outstanding achievements, or noble qualities.”
Consider for a moment though that the hero does not have to be available to help another person or to save someone from peril. They make a choice to do something for the benefit of another person. At times this is helping someone they know and at times someone unknown. We call this person a volunteer. A volunteer is defined as “a person who freely offers to take part in an enterprise or undertake a task.”
Elastigirl was right when she said it is not about us and our super powers. The Apostle Paul knew this. In First Timothy 1:15 he describes himself as the greatest of sinners. God chose Paul to help Him do a very special mission. Did he have super powers? Was he exceptional at something? Did his talent exceed that of others so that he had to be the one? The answer to all these questions is: NO! Paul described himself as the chief of all sinners, he knew that nothing qualified him to be chosen by God. Paul, whose former name was Saul, spent his days killing Christians and taking delight in his ability to rid the earth of this problem. Not a great person to help the church, but yet God choose him. Not because of what he could do. Not because of some special talents, but because of what God wanted to do. First Peter 4:8-11 tells us that God wants us to use whatever we have, and in the first half of verse 11 to “be generous with the different things God has given us” (Message Translation) so that as the second part of verse 11 says, “God will be glorified” (ESV). God has showed us in many stories in the Bible that He wants us to be ready to help whenever the need arises, using the things He has already given us. Matthew 10 shows the boy who gave his loaves and fishes and Matthew 25 shows the parable of the talents, with those who used their talents being praised and the one who was too scared, being left wanting. Perfection and heroics is not required. A recent survey in the night service showed no one was free of making mistakes and no one had all the skills required to be the perfect volunteer, yet God uses us.
God chooses us to be the ones who share who He is with others, so that He might get the glory, so that others might know that it is not me they should believe in, but God. Paul in First Corinthians 1:27-30 reminds us that God chooses things which are low and a little crazy to others, to let the world know who Jesus is, so that we may not boast of ourselves, but in Jesus. Let us boast in Jesus and let us volunteer who we are and what we are to the benefit of others so that Jesus may be glorified, both now and forever.
Your Children’s pastor,