Champions are not necessarily heroes.
A champion is merely one who has defeated all rivals. David stood up to Goliath, a “champion” out of the camp of the Philistines (1 Samuel 17:4), but Goliath did not end the competition as winner.
Sometimes, the champion is not the biggest and strongest! Maybe they have something on their side that the competition does not have!
Listen to Goliath….
He stood and shouted to the ranks of Israel, “Why have you come out to draw up for battle? Am I not a Philistine, and are you not servants of Saul? Choose a man for yourselves, and let him come down to me. If he is able to fight with me and kill me, then we will be your servants. But if I prevail against him and kill him, then you shall be our servants and serve us.” And the Philistine said, “I defy the ranks of Israel this day. Give me a man, that we may fight together.” (1 Samuel 17:8-10 ESV)
David was the hero to his nation, and the champion over Goliath. But David was not as big, or as tough, as the opponent. He was young, and inexperienced in the ways of war. The King admonished him for his stance that he would fight Goliath… “…for you are but a youth, and he has been a man of war from his youth.” (1 Samuel 17:33) But David is not shy about his accomplishments!
But David said to Saul, “Your servant used to keep sheep for his father. And when there came a lion, or a bear, and took a lamb from the flock, I went after him and struck him and delivered it out of his mouth. And if he arose against me, I caught him by his beard and struck him and killed him. Your servant has struck down both lions and bears, and this uncircumcised Philistine shall be like one of them, for he has defied the armies of the living God.” (1 Samuel 17:34-36 ESV)
In the words of Paul Harvey, the rest of the story is that David defeated Goliath with a challenge and slew him with only a stone slung from the shepherds sling.
A true Champion spirit but not one looking to be a hero. He chose the battlefield of recognizing that Goliath came against him with all the weapons of war, but David stood up on the side of God and declared himself the winner – even before the contest began! (1 Samuel 17:45-47)
True, he was a hero and paraded through the country as one, but really, he was a champion when no one else had the fortitude to defend God and his people.
Heroes are often admired or idealized for courage, outstanding achievements, or noble qualities. In scripture, a hero is often described as a mighty or great man. (Nimrod, 1 Chronicles 1:10, Zicri, 2 Chronicles 28:7) David was none of these. He was simply a lad, that chose the battle to defend God and his people!
A champion can win out of brute strength, or cunning, or even luck. A hero simply does what needs to be done, often with super human actions. Champions are often noted by their survival through the fight, and maybe even the last one standing. Heroes are often willing to give their life for the cause.
Heroes often run into failing situations with no regard for their own safety. They are mostly victorious and are lauded for their actions. Champions are often found in contests where their are rules that corral the excesses to protect the contestants.
I am sure there are no “super heroes” as displayed in the comic books. Nor do champions have to be the biggest size, or the swiftest of foot.
My one thought on this: I think we know more heroes than we know champions! Heroes are found around us every day. Heroes are easily found in the common and every day experiences lived by each of us. As parents to young, we are often viewed our little ones heroes. We often can do no wrong, and we come through in a pinch to save the day.
I love to watch the little ones acting out the roles of super heroes! They tie on a cape. They take a stance with their hands on their hips. The soar through air with their arms spread out. At church they often come with their persona and swiftly run through the auditorium making their favorite hero noises! So much fun to watch!
Who is your favorite hero?