Our culture has suffered from a lack of authenticity. We enhance our food with artificial flavors and colors, add artificial sweeteners to our coffee, and enamor ourselves with artificial heroes. For a definition of true heroism, we have looked to movie celebrities and professional athletes. These are the individuals we have idolized. Hero status has had nothing to do with courage or strength of character.

But this perception changed on 9/11.

On that fateful day, Todd Beamer and other passengers on United Flight 93 confronted hijackers who had seized control of their aircraft. They fought for control of the plane and it tragically crashed in a Pennsylvania field. Through their courageous sacrifice, the White House or Capitol Building had been spared from attack.

Todd’s wife, Lisa, said after the tragedy: “To the world they were ordinary [but] they figured out how to do extraordinary things. . . . To overcome the worst adversity I could ever imagine.” Todd Beamer never starred in an Oscar-winning film. He never signed a multimillion-dollar contract with a major league team. Nor did he ever oversee the affairs of a Fortune-500 company. But he had the courage to stand up in a moment of crisis and do what was right, even though it cost him his life. Before his death, Todd wasn’t famous, just faithful. That is real heroism.

September 11, 2001 has forever etched in our minds the significance of common heroes. Whether you work in a church, on the mission field, at a secular job, or in a school, it is easy to feel like your contribution is making no impact on the final outcome. I submit to you that your faithful service, though it is undercover, makes you a hero in God’s sight. Rest assured your labor is not in vain.

When men cease to be faithful to their God, he who expects to find them faithful to each other will be much disappointed. — George Horne

Devotional by Pastor Jim Scudder, Jr.