The Lord is my strength and my shield;
my heart trusts in Him and He helps me. My heart
leaps for joy, and with my song I praise Him.
-- Psalm 28:7
According to BoxOfficeMojo.com, Hollywood has released 90 motion pictures since 1978 involving comic book superheroes. The worldwide popularity of these amazing characters--and their easy translation into ticket sales--helps to explain their abundance.
The Avengers seems to prove the point. Since its May 2012 debut, this action-packed blockbuster featuring The Incredible Hulk, Iron Man and Captain America has so far grossed nearly $615 million. And you can take it to the bank that there are sequels on the way.
Superman, Batman and Spider-Man star in some of the most popular movies of the superhero genre. When disaster strikes, mild-mannered Clark Kent--a reporter for The Daily Planet newspaper--trades in his eyeglasses and business suit for his Superman tights and cape. Likewise, Peter Parker dons his Spider-Man outfit to fight crime and injustice. And then there's Bruce Wayne. He's one of the richest men in Gotham City. And he just happens to thwart criminals in the guise of Batman: The Caped Crusader.
In addition to having special powers and flashy costumes, there's another common denominator among these gifted individuals. Clark Kent, Peter Parker and Bruce Wayne all seem to be "regular" people--the last ones in their communities who would stand out as guardians of the public safety. What's more, all three have the habit of fading into the crowd after they've completed their mission. Self-promotion and grandstanding are the last things on their minds.
Maybe there's a bit of Clark Kent in every Christ-follower. We're also Regular Joes who try to avoid the limelight in favor of getting the job done. And like our favorite superheroes, we also have access to powers that can literally change the world. But let's take a close look in the mirror. Do we too often fail to make the most of our potential--and therefore waste opportunities for bearing fruit?
Obviously, God doesn't want us to spend our lives simply marking time and taking up space. It's no accident that He's put us in our communities to accomplish amazing things...and not through our own talents and ingenuity, but through His power. We're to pray for all people, send and support missionaries, partner with other Christ-followers...and plant new churches. And our mission is a clear and simple one: Advance His Kingdom.
As far as we know, the comic books don't say that Peter Parker's (Spider-Man) uncle was a Christ-follower. But his dying words to young Peter ("With great power, there must also come great responsibility") sound much like Jesus in Luke 12:48: "...From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked."
And so it goes with comic book superheroes. But even more so for Christ-followers.