Know a Hero when you see one?

Hero: a person admired for courage, nobility, exploits, ideal qualities, and achievements.

Do you know anyone like that? Most people who are heroic never consider themselves in that light. Someone who claims to be a hero is normally dismissed as arrogant or delusional.

I always thought the term “unsung hero” was interesting. I’ll give you an example:

Have you ever heard the name, Benjamin Clark? Out of the horror of 9/11, a number of people emerged into public consciousness because of their actions. Benjamin Clark was one of those but few know his story. He wasn’t a firefighter or a police officer, one of the numerous first responders who acted so bravely on that terrible day. Benjamin Clark was a chef.

He worked for Fiduciary Trust, preparing meals for the company. On that fateful Tuesday morning, he acted quickly to begin urging people on the 96th floor offices in the South Tower to get out of the building. First clearing his department, he went around the floor telling people to leave. A Fiduciary official credited Clark with saving hundreds of lives that day.

On his way down, he encountered a woman in a wheelchair. He wasn’t going to abandon her. His mother said of him, “My son was a Marine, so you know he wasn’t going to leave anybody behind.”

Like so many others, Benjamin Clark died that day. A chef known for his fabulous meatloaf, for remembering peoples’ names, for noting favorite meals, he sacrificed his life to help others.

As Michael Daly wrote of this unsung hero, “The enormity of Benjamin Clark’s sacrifice is made apparent by the photos of his own five children hanging in his mother’s home. He had been happily married to a wonderful woman, LaShawn Clark, and he had been the happiest of dads.”

More than 1200 people attended the memorial service for Benjamin Clark. Many in the crowd that day were alive because of his heroic efforts.

Perhaps the heroes in your life haven’t performed in such dramatic fashion, but we all have them. There are people in your life who might escape your notice if you don’t take the time to pay attention. Make a list, pick up the phone, craft a message to someone who has been heroic for you. It might surprise them to know you feel that way about them.

On Good Friday, a man was standing in the crowd watching a procession of condemned men on their way to the cross. The last man in the pitiful line stumbled and fell. The execution detail knew that the man was so weak from the torture he had endured and the blood he had lost that he couldn’t make it without help. They picked that man, Simon the Cyrene, out of the crowd to carry the cross beam the rest of the way. Some might say he was forced to do it. I believe he was willing to do it. And he did.

People don’t get up in the morning and decide to be heroic. Circumstances present themselves, opportunities are available. Simon made the most of the moment. So did Benjamin Clark.

Thank you, Lord, for people who seize the moment and do things that matter.

This entry was posted in Commentary and tagged , on by .

About Mark Wilbanks

Dr. Wilbanks became Wieuca’s fifth senior pastor in February of 2012. Mark’s father, Oliver Wilbanks, served as Associate Pastor here from 1966 to 1982. Wieuca had a tremendous influence in shaping Mark’s call to ministry during his teenage and young adult years. A graduate of both Southern and New Orleans Baptist Theological seminaries, Mark has served churches in Kentucky, Florida, and Georgia. He pastored Southside Baptist Church in Jacksonville, Florida for 17 years and Bradfordville First Baptist Church in Tallahassee, Florida for ten years. He and his wife, Kim, were married in 1979 and have two sons, Andy and Jordan. Andy is married to Lindsay and they have a son, Cade, a daughter, Ruthie, and welcomed their third child, Samuel, in October.

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