Heroes of the Christian Faith: Andy, An Ordinary Superhero

by John Crilly

(Editor’s note: This is the final post in a series on Heroes of the Christian Faith.)

Who doesn’t love superheroes with super powers? When I was a kid, on Saturday mornings I watched the cartoon Super Friends with Superman, Batman and Robin, Aquaman, Wonder Woman, and the Wonder Twins, battling the evil Legion of Doom. I always wanted to be able to fly, talk to dolphins, or use x-ray vision. This fantastical desire continues in our culture today with the popularity of the Avengers, X-Men, and Guardians of the Galaxy—not to mention the endless recycling of Superman and Batman.

We often carry this perspective into how we expect to spread the good news—the big outreach event, the celebrity preacher, the slick production. The Christian culture has embraced the mindset that the superheroes of the faith are the experts, the gifted, the professionals and the pastors, the theologians, the apologists, and the Bible-answer-men and women. The rest of us can cheer them on as they swoop in to save the day, while we set up chairs at the pancake breakfast and throw a few bucks in the offering.

The ordinary stuff seems boring. The little stuff doesn’t seem to matter as much to us, so we’re content to stand on the sidewalk and look up at the sky, hoping for a superhero to come. We may even decide we’re not needed at all and head back inside to the couch.

But what if this is a perspective we need to challenge and reconsider?

The little things seemed to matter to Jesus. He heartily applauded the widow who gave the two tiny coins she had to offer. He blessed and multiplied the little loaves and fish from a boy’s lunch until they fed thousands of people. He said, “If anyone gives even a cup of cold water to one of these little ones because he is my disciple, I tell you the truth, he will certainly not lose his reward” (Matt. 10:42).

Understanding that the Supernatural Has Come

“Jesus Krispie.” That’s what I called Andy. I’m not proud of it, but that’s the name I called my cousin when I’d introduced him to my friends in high school and college. I grew up on the southwest side of Chicago in a predominantly Irish neighborhood called Oak Lawn, which explains a lot.

When it came to faith, I didn’t get it. Despite my 12 years of catechism, I did not understand the truth about Jesus. I understood that He was the Savior of the world, but that did not really mean anything to me personally. So, I strayed. But throughout my growing up years, I stayed connected to Andy. He had a real experience with Jesus when he was 16 and it changed his life’s path. It intrigued me enough to heckle him with a derogatory nickname.

Despite being a few years older than me, he showed a genuine interest in me, my life, and our relationship. He intentionally went out of his way to spend time with me even though he lived in a different state. I never recall Andy sharing the gospel with me (although he claims he did on several occasions). Andy always seemed to show up for me and I do recall thinking that I could trust Andy.

So, when I began to get curious about things of God after graduating from college, who do you think I called? Andy, of course! Over time, his quiet faith and loving friendship established relational trust and played an important role in my exploration of God and eventual coming to Christ. We had many conversations by phone as I asked questions of faith. And, when I was 22, my life was radically changed by Jesus, thanks in part to Andy’s loyal perseverance and pursuit of me.

This was all because one ordinary man understood that the Supernatural God had come to him and he was willing to share Him with me.

The God of the universe hand-selected Andy to reach into my life and introduce me to Jesus. Jesus said, “You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you so that you might go and bear fruit—fruit that will last” (John 15:16). Let that soak in a little.

You are his first string, his A-team, his top choice, his ordinary superhero. You are not created to sit on the bleachers and watch someone else play in the game. You are not his B-team or his last choice. God specially picked you to be adopted into his family and to play a critical role in his redemptive plan to reconcile the world to Himself.

 

Go be God’s ordinary superhero for someone today. The Supernatural God is with you.

John-CrillyJohn Crilly is an author, marketplace leader, and the former national field director at Q Place, a ministry empowering Christians to engage in meaningful conversations about God with people who believe differently. He is also co-author of The 9 Arts of Spiritual Conversations available in Spring 2016.