Courage, Character and Captain Tom

Courage, Character and Captain Tom

Courage, Character and Captain Tom

by Dave Carter
8th February 2021

We recently saw the passing of a national icon, Captain Sir Tom Moore. There’s not many people in recent times who have earned the love and approval of the whole nation, but Captain Tom is a figure who brought a united sense of admiration from all corners of society.

Tributes have poured in from royalty, government and the media. Yet for me one of the most touching tributes was overhearing two teenagers out for a walk around my village discussing him and expressing sadness at his death. His example was one that crossed boundaries of age and social status.

I too felt saddened when I heard the news, which at any other time would have felt odd. Like the vast majority of us, I didn’t know him personally and so had to work out why the death of someone I’d never met who was over 100 years old affected me. Then I read this tweet from the Archbishop of Canterbury, who seems to have summed it up pretty well:

“Captain Tom was the very best of us. His courage, compassion, resilience, hope and generosity have been an inspiration to millions – and an example to us all. Where he walked, a nation followed.”

And yet, acknowledging the sadness, there’s also the fact that no one lives forever, and to go out like this isn’t a tragedy. If you offered me the chance to die aged 100 having spent my last year of life inspiring a nation and raising £33 million for the NHS, I think I’d take it. I’m choosing to celebrate what he did.

Which is interesting, because what he actually did was not that remarkable, it was more the way he did it and the nature of the man taking on the challenge that inspired us.

Captain Tom walked up and down his garden. This is not something out of the ordinary. What shone through was his determination, compassion and optimism. Listening to the tributes paid to him this week, a common theme that came up time and time again was his character. People have described him as generous, hopeful, brave and kind. It is the type of man he was that has warmed the hearts of millions. His act embodied that in a simple way.

If this sounds overly sentimental, I merely hope that by highlighting the importance of character we can all take something from his example. It is easy to look at his amazing fundraising drive as unique, and think to ourselves that we will never be able to achieve anything like that. If we look at this the wrong way, we can feel deeply inadequate when faced with the efforts of a centenarian who took on national significance.

But if we focus on character, we win every time. Character shines through, it can make a huge difference in our lives and the lives of those around us. Don’t focus on how significant your acts are perceived to be, focus on heavenly character, on allowing the fruit of the Spirit to grow in your life. Pray for Galatians 5 v 22 – 23 to be expressed in you. Know that your Father smiles over every step forward that you take on this journey.

In dark times it is godly character that will enable you to shine bright, stand firm and bring hope wherever you go. If we allow Jesus to transform us from one degree of glory to another then we know that we are heading in the right direction. People of character bring hope to the world, and the world badly needs that right now.

On that note, I’ll leave you with the words of Captain Tom himself:

“We will get through this, whatever is thrown at us and together we can ensure that tomorrow will be a good day”.