All of the great superheroes have one thing in common, in fact it is a requirement to be a great superhero. It is not a cape or the ability to fly. It is a great origins story. The best heroes have the best origins, because it is these origins that drive the heroes. For example, Spiderman was granted amazing powers when he was bitten by a radioactive spider. Superman was born on an alien world, and thanks to the energy of yellow sun he has incredible powers. Batman does not even have superpowers, but his origin story involves training himself to the peak of human perfection. Iron Man, Captain America, the Incredible Hulk, and every other of the best super heroes have incredible origins stories.
Of course there is a difference between legendary super heroes and forgettable super heroes. A forgettable super hero is one that is all style with no substance. Forgettable super heroes are ones where the creator gives them a power, a cape, and decides they are now a hero fighting bad guys. The legendary super heroes like Batman, Captain America, and Spiderman have endured for decades because they stick with us. They stick with us because they are characters with depth. Their origins story has less to do with how they got their powers, but why they choose to use those powers to be a hero. Batman took the fear he felt when his parents were murdered. Instead of letting that fear get the best of him, he conquered it and he now uses it as a weapon to stop those who seek to prey on the weak and innocent. Captain America was a 98lb weakling who was raised to do what was right no matter what. This led him to standing up to bullies he could not defeat, because someone had to. Captain America had the heart of a hero long before he had the body and power of a hero. Spiderman is motivated by a burden of great responsibility and he stands up to evil because he knows with great power comes great responsibility. Superman has the power to single handily conquer the world, but he was taught by ma and pa Kent to put others first. The greatest super heroes have a driving purpose that motivates them to take risks, to be selfless, and to save the world.
A lot of the figures from the Bible also have memorable origins stories. Moses had a burning bush talk to him, David was anointed king while still a young boy, Peter was told he would be a fisher of men, and Paul was blinded on the road to Damascus. However, like superheroes it is not the details of their origins that make them compelling it is their motivation. All of the great figures from the bible had an encounter with the divine that motivated them and compelled them to follow God with all of their being.
Today, followers of Christ still have origins stories. We tend to call it something that sounds a little less exciting and a little more church-y. We say they were “called”. If you know a pastor or something is fully committed to a mission or ministry, then you probably know someone with a calling. Sometime you should ask them to share their “call story”. Some of these origin stories are extraordinary and some are very ordinary. Yet, they are all remarkably compelling. You should ask them to share their call story with you sometime. I know I have heard several, and I have never been disappointed. When we hear a call story we hear about how someone encountered the divine in a way that was absolutely life changing for them.
What is your secret origin? Do you have your own call story?