For consider your calling, brothers: not many of you were wise according to worldly standards, not many were powerful, not many were of noble birth. But God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong
1 Corinthians 1:26-27
The evening of May 22, Chris Parker was standing just outside the foyer of the Manchester Arena. He was interacting with concert attendees as they came through the glass doors at the conclusion of the Ariana Grande concert when a loud explosion forced Chris and those around him to the ground. A suicide bomber had detonated an explosive just inside the venue’s foyer. Chris immediately jumped back to his feet, and as the crowds fled the carnage, Chris did the un-human, some would say super-human, thing. He ran towards the blast area and began helping the dozens injured.
He found a young girl with severe damage to her legs. “It was children,” he remembered, “It was a lot of children with blood all over them and crying and screaming.” Commandeering a concert merchandise t-shirt from a nearby table, Chris made a tourniquet to slow the bleeding, probably saving her life. He then found another victim with injuries too great to survive, and comforted her in her final moments. “She passed away in my arms. She was in her 60s and said she had been with her family.”
Chris was not a medic, he was not a member of a first responder team. He was just a self professed “regular guy.” But Chris is anything but “regular.”
News outlets are drawn to actions like that of Chris’s. Perhaps to shine some bright hope into profound darkness. As with every such tragedy, we witness the concurrent existence of humanity’s darkest and brightest potentialities. Those who strive to save lives and instill peace rushing right on the heels of those bent on taking lives and creating carnage. Inhuman horror meet superhuman heroism.
In the coming days, Chris was hailed as a hero, a title he systematically rejected:
I’m supposed to be a hero, but I’m not a hero, I’m just a normal guy, just a normal, regular guy who ran into the arena that night all because I heard kids screaming. . . I had no choice,But what makes Chris’s story so much more the life lesson for us is not just what he did, but why he was even at that concert that night. He wasn’t an attendee, he couldn’t afford the ticket. He wasn’t working, he doesn’t have a job. Chris is homeless. He was there that night searching for charity, but wound up being able to share charity with others.
Many of us want to help, but we wait for more resources, till we are “better prepared.” Hoping some day we can become a positive influence on our world. As soon as we get that promotion, as soon as we graduate, as soon as we “get our act together,” maybe then we can do something heroic. But heroes are simply those who maximize their current resources, whatever they are, for a cause outside themselves.
Don’t forget, a homeless man once died to save the world (Luke 9:58).
God’s greatest power is not resident in our wealth and wisdom. It is visible only when his power is fully displayed, and his power can only be fully displayed when ours is not. Later, to the church of Corinth, Paul remembers what God had once said to him as he prayed against his deficiency:
Three times I pleaded with the Lord about this, that it should leave me. But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’
2 Corinthians 12:8-9
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