Tuesday, August 25, 2015

...because they weren't thinking about selfies

Three boyhood friends were traveling through Europe, taking a fast train from Amsterdam to Paris last Friday evening, when a man entered their train car with an AK 47 automatic rifle, a pistol, a box cutter and nine rounds of ammunition.  When they saw the man, one of the friends immediately tapped his seatmate's shoulder, as if to say, "Let's go."

They didn't hesitate at all.  One of them sprinted ten meters down the aisle of the train, and despite being slashed and facing quite literally the barrel of a gun, twenty-three year old Spencer Stone took down the suspected jihadist.

Within seconds, the gunman was tackled on the floor and disarmed.  An atrocity was averted.  And instead of a gunman's face and another violent account on the news, there were the pictures of three brave men who just did what they thought was the right thing to do.

To watch a video of the heroes, click here

What motivated these young men to respond so quickly? They weren't preoccupied with themselves. 

And nowadays, that may be the most countercultural mindset of all.

That was my last sentence in this blog posting, but I kept following a curious thread.

As I read more about these humble young men, it occurred to me that a radical awareness like that towards the good of others does not just suddenly come to the surface in a crisis, particularly when personal safety is concerned.  The various articles I read couldn't quite explain their actions, surmising they were just good men.

I suspected that there was more than that to the story.

And then, even after I had finished writing my posting, I read an article in Monday's Wall Street Journal, in which their personal sacrifice, their other-centeredness, their humble demeanor, suddenly made sense.  "The three Americans were childhood friends who attended the Freedom Christian School in Fair Oaks, Calif., near Sacramento," the article stated, a minor detail the other media coverage seemed to miss. It was a  "minor detail" that made all the difference.  These guys were Christ-followers.

That didn't surprise me a bit.  These young men were not out to make a name for themselves.  They just lived under a different banner.  Attending a Christian school does not a hero make, but a heart changed by Jesus will respond to life with more than a different worldview.

Their lives didn't have to be self-centered, because they are centered on Christ.  And that impacts everything about them -- even what they did on their summer vacation.

Be watchful,
stand firm in your faith,
be courageous,
be strong.
Let all that you do
           be done in love.

            1 Corinthians 16. 13


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