Psalm 138:3 – When I called, you answered me; you made me bold and stouthearted. (NIV)
One of my favourite books is Pilgrim's Progress by John Bunyan. I think I first read it when I was about twelve, so the characters, episodes, and events were indelibly impressed upon my heart and mind. As I was recently reading Psalm 138, the old-fashioned word "stouthearted" brought to mind a character from Pilgrim's Progress called "Greatheart".
Greatheart is a courageous character who leads a family to salvation. If you haven't read it, Bunyan's book is divided into two parts. The first part concerns the personal journey of a hero called "Christian" as he travels to heaven. The second part describes the rescue of his family from the City of Destruction and their exploits as they follow in Christian's footsteps. Greatheart's role is to defend and guide the family to the Promised Land. He's a bit like Strider in Lord of the Rings. His dauntless deeds and acts of bravery, which involve killing giants and defeating demons, successfully bring the family to the shores of heaven. Greatheart then returns to go back into the world, in order to lead more pilgrims to God.
Perhaps if we were more "greathearted" in the church, we would effectively and lovingly lead more people away from the woes of the world and towards the joys of heaven.
Prayer: Lord Jesus, help us to become stouthearted in faith. Let our words and deeds encourage others to come to You. May Your love bear fruit in the lives of all those whom we meet and encounter today. In Your name we pray. Amen.