It is very important for you to understand what real courage is, and what it is not. Let me tell you the story about a courageous knight: There once was a knight who lived a very long time ago. His name was Sir Archibald, but his friends called him “Archie.”
Archie lived near a cave, and everyone knew there was a dragon who lived in that cave. The dragon was huge; he was at least ten times the size of a man! His teeth and claws were sharper than any sword in the kingdom. And because of the fire he breathed, he left a path of scorched earth wherever he went. Everyone was terrified of the dragon; they called him “the beast of death.”
Archie’s friends thought it was fun to tease him about the dragon. They would say things like, “If you were a real knight you would march into that cave and kill that dragon.” And, “You’re nothing but a coward if you don’t go kill that dragon.” When his friends would dare him to go and fight, Archie would always refuse.
Everyone thought Archie would not go and face the dragon because he was afraid. No one thought Archie was a courageous knight…until the day when the dragon came to town.
It was still very early in the morning when Archie woke to hear, “Sir Archibald! The dragon is flying toward the village!” Archie quickly arose from his bed, strapped his sword to his hip, and slung his bow and quiver of arrows onto his back. He rushed to his horse, leapt on its back, and raced toward the small village.
The shadow cast by the dragon, as he circled in the sky, covered nearly every hut in the village. When Archibald reached the edge of town he wasted no time. In one fluid motion, he jumped from his horse and pulled out his bow. It was only a moment before an arrow was sailing through the air, on a direct course toward the “beast of death.” The arrow pierced the dragon’s wing and brought him hurtling toward the earth.
Although he was injured when he landed in the corn field, he was far from dead. The dragon was angry and was anxiously searching for the creature responsible for bringing him to the ground. The dragon spotted Archibald, sprinting toward him. He took a deep breath, preparing to unleash a fury of fire on this tiny little man.
Archibald could tell the dragon was about to turn him into a smoldering pile of ash, so he unsheathed his sword and threw it at the great beast. The sword tumbled, handle over blade through the air, as if in slow motion. Before the dragon could breath even a spark, the sword hit its mark. The dragon, with Archibald’s sword lodged between his eyes, breathed his last puff of smoke.
Was Sir Archibald courageous? Yes! His friends didn’t recognize his courage because they, like a lot of people, don’t understand what real courage is all about. Being courageous is not about being “brave” enough to do what your friends dare you to do. People will always be around to challenge you and dare you to do things that are dangerous. And sometimes you may even dare yourself to do dangerous things to prove to your friends you have courage. But you must remember, doing dangerous things with no purpose is stupidity, not courage!
Real courage is risking your life, your health, or your reputation to do what is right. I will be very disappointed if you put yourself in jeopardy to prove to others how brave you are. Instead, I expect you to help others, preach the gospel, and stand up against evil no matter the cost. That is real courage!