Solomon On How To Be A Hero
The way young people are exhorted to “follow their heart,” “dream big,” “reach for the stars,” and other clichés, one could easily get the idea that progress depends on people doing difficult or at least very hard things. People are essentially encouraged to do “the heroic” and thereby become heroes. Given the popularity of comic book movies, perhaps we can think about “superheroes” to rethink the mythology of doing hard things.
The idea of doing exceptional, amazing things certainly fires one’s imagination. But it is probably leading to disappointment, dissatisfaction, and nonproductivity in most cases. “The plans of the diligent lead surely to abundance, but everyone who is hasty comes only to poverty” (Proverbs 21:5 ESV). “A faithful man will abound with blessings, but whoever hastens to be rich will not go unpunished” (Proverbs 28:20 ESV).
If you think about it carefully, superheroes don’t do hard things, at least not often. Their story plots go to great lengths and fantastic elaborations to set up a scenario that is hard for a superhero to deal with. To have a worthwhile story with Superman as the hero requires a super villain. Otherwise, the whole point of “superpowers” is that one can do amazing things without any difficulty. Superman doesn’t display bravery when he foils an ordinary bank robbery because he can’t be hurt by such robbers. Stopping a bank robbery would be heroic if you did it because you are not bulletproof (though it might be foolish for you to try). For Superman it is safe and effortless.
Even a “superhero” like Batman is in the same category. Obviously, he doesn’t have powers on the level of Superman, but he is victorious because he has resources in terms of money, technology, knowledge and training. He made himself strong.
Mark Horne has been studying the intersection of ethics and the economy since high school. He was raised in Liberia, West Africa and Kwajalein, Marshall Islands, as well as on the Atlantic coast of Florida. He graduated from Houghton College in 1989 and from Covenant Theological Seminary in 1998. He was ordained in the Presbyterian Church in America and has pastored churches in Washington state and Oklahoma, as well as serving as an assistant pastor in St. Louis.