I’m not literary, to begin with. My school-age years were spent during the golden age of this somewhat new-fangled thing called television, and it was easier to watch Ed Sullivan than it was to read a book. Thankfully, when our oldest child was a tender toddler, I found my way to the local library of the small town that was our current home. Thus began a love affair with books for my children (and me!) that has never stopped.
The girls flew the coop years ago, but somehow Bob and I started reading together; that is, he reads to me while I crochet in my rocking chair. Seriously. We look like we’re posing for a Norman Rockwell painting. So the classics I never read are still available (children’s included) and we’re picking them off one by one.
Case in point: The Three Musketeers. I don’t know why Dumas called it that, since the there are really four; nonetheless, it was fun, and the author does a good job at developing the unique character of each persona, so we decided to read the sequel. (I don’t recommend it, unless you’re into literature for the sake of literature. Me? I just want to be summarily entertained, which means happy endings. Suffice it to say [spoiler alert] there are no “puppies and butterflies” at the end of the sequel. BLAH!)
The mighty foursome makes me think of another series of heroes, and although they didn’t live at the same time, they have some outstanding characteristics that seem to define them as very critical for today as well. Here’s my cast:
#1 Nathan (the “divine finger-pointer”): an uncompromisingly courageous prophet of God during the rise of the Hebrew kingdom under the leadership of David, Nathan was anointed for the task of exposing the most powerful king’s murderous adultery. He exemplifies something the Apostle Paul later said:
“ I never shrank back from telling you what you needed to hear, either publicly or in your homes.”
#2 Daniel (the “lion king”, so to speak…): exhibiting absolute spiritual integrity in the midst of a most wicked culture. Here’s how we can relate:
“Live clean, innocent lives as children of God, shining like bright lights in a world full of crooked and perverse people.”
#3 Phillip (the “opportunist”): A.K.A., the evangelist, I’m thinking that to get a moniker like that, he must have had his radar up just looking for situations to share Jesus. This verse comes to mind:
“And if someone asks about your hope as a believer, always be ready to explain it.”
#4 Barnabas (the “encourager”): gotta love this guy! Not that he wasn’t realistic or wouldn’t argue (quite the contrary), but if you needed someone on your team for steam, you’d call for him.
“Is there any encouragement from belonging to Christ? Any comfort from his love? Any fellowship together in the Spirit? Are your hearts tender and compassionate?”
The whole story is eventually going to end with puppies and butterflies, but until then we desperately need these four heroes, that is, their modern day spiritual ancestors, in the Body of Christ today.
Which one are you?
Acts 20:20; Philippians 2:15; 1 Peter 3:15; Philippians 2:1 Holy Bible. New Living Translation copyright© 1996, 2004, 2007, 2013 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.