My 11-year-old daughter recently had to pick her personal hero for a school project and she named the late Sim Isocrates McMillen. You’ve likely never heard of Sim, unless perhaps you’ve read “None of These Diseases” – a best-selling book he wrote about 50 years ago. Yet, that’s not why Sim is my daughter’s hero. It’s because Sim, as my daughter put it, “brought Christianity to our family.”
You see, Sim was born into a God-hating, abusive family headed by angry drunk. In fact, that’s how Sim ended up with such a strange name. You see, Sim’s parents never bothered to name him. So, at age eight, Sim named himself – Sim Isocrates McMillen, so his first name and initials would be one and the same.
When he was a teenager, Sim’s sister, Oneida, led him to the Lord. She had been kicked out of her parents’ house when she decided to follow Jesus at age 17. But, that didn’t deter her a bit. She soon joined the Wesleyan Church and became an evangelist in the poor areas of Appalachia. My grandpa used to accompany Oneida on her missions. And, that’s where he met my grandma who, like Oneida, deeply loved the Lord.
Despite the profound abuse and neglect my grandpa suffered as a child, he eventually became a medical doctor and served many years as a medical missionary in Sierra Leone, West Africa. He and my grandmother had one child – my mother who, like them, grew to love Jesus too.
When I recall my grandpa’s story, I realize he’s my hero too. But, I have several of them – men and women who have blessed me beyond words simply because they were faithful followers of Jesus Christ. My guess is if you’re walking with the Lord, you have some of these heroes too.
Hebrews 12 says, “Therefore since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.”
Today, I encourage you to remember your heroes of faith – and then run your race with renewed passion. Who knows, by simply being faithful, you may encourage someone to overcome obstacles, resist sin, or endure suffering. And someday when you’re in glory, you may find yourself the hero of your 11-year-old great granddaughter.