“Then he called the crowd to him along with his disciples and said: “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me and for the gospel will save it.” -Mark 8:34-35
In the book Denial of Death, Pulitzer Prize-winning author Earnest Becker describes an idea known as the “the hero project.” This is a fear that most of mankind has: the looming dread and ongoing fear that “I’m going to die someday.” Because of this, we try to build a hero project out of our lives: that if we accomplish enough to earn a sense of heroism, then our lives are going to matter. Becker considers this a problem because your hero project is essentially trying to construct a sense of immortality; that even though I will die, my name will carry on and my death will have meaning. Many Christians forget about the truth of heaven, the ceaselessness of the soul, and the fact that regardless of what you accomplish: Your life matters. Many of us don’t truly have faith in God and in heaven, so we spend our time doing great things for others and building our hero project, so we can distract ourselves from our looming fear of death. This should not be the role for Christians: We should do great things and we should actually be heroes, but not for ourselves, and not to build some kind of symbolic immortality. We should do it for God. We know that there is a heaven, we know God is faithful, and we know he is our father, and just like any father wouldn’t abandon his kids: We know God won’t abandon us.
PRAYER: Dear Lord, please help me deconstruct my hero project and rest in knowing that my life matters because of you. Let me do good things for you and because of you, not for trying to be remembered.
REFLECTION: Have you constructed a hero project for yourself?