If you’re familiar with Batman, you know that he’s a wealthy businessman by day and a crime-fighting machine by night. Equipped with bravery, impressive resources, and a desire for justice, Batman battles the evil that plagues his home: Gotham City. Although undoubtedly helpful, it’s not the various gadgets or the seemingly invincible Batmobile that is the key to Batman’s success. In my opinion, it’s his butler, Alfred.
Depending on the version of Batman you’ve watched or read, the depiction of Alfred varies. In some cases, he’s introverted and mild-mannered. In others, such as the television show Gotham, Alfred is a bold, strong man who challenges the young Bruce Wayne to be the very best version of himself. Whether Alfred is a quiet butler, or a combat-ready companion, these two things remain consistent: he is reliable and willing to serve.
How great is it that Bruce Wayne has a confidant who never lets him down? Not only is this man his butler, but his friend. Alfred knows Bruce’s secret life as Batman, and not only accepts it, but supports Batman’s endeavors. In Gotham, the young Bruce Wayne gets into trouble at times, but Alfred is there to fight on his behalf. In addition to butler and friend, he’s a protector.
Batman never has to question Alfred’s loyalty. Alfred has a proven track-record of dependability. He’s there, offering guidance from the Batcave when needed and faithfully keeps the secret of Batman’s hidden identity. Batman can trust Alfred, and in a city full of evil villains, such trust is invaluable.
Alfred plays an important role in the adventures of Batman, although he’s not listed among the ranks of superheroes. Rather, he’s an unsung hero—a person behind the scenes who helps make things happen. There are many people like this in real life. These people, although their work sometimes goes unacknowledged or underappreciated, are an important part of the successes that happen as a result of their efforts: People like janitors, who make our schools clean places for children to learn and grow. Groundskeepers, who maintain football fields so our teams can go out and perform. Farmers, who rise early and work tirelessly to produce food for people to eat. There are so many individuals out there performing heroic efforts that go unseen, and I’d like to say thank you.
Mark 9:35 says this: “Sitting down, Jesus called the Twelve and said, ‘Anyone who wants to be first must be the very last, and the servant of all.’” The kingdom of God works differently than the world we live in. According to Jesus, to be great in God’s kingdom, we must be a servant. I encourage you to look for opportunities to serve others, whether it be giving of our time, money, or abilities in order to help someone else. If you ask for God’s guidance, He’ll open your eyes to opportunities in which you can lovingly serve.
This guidance from Jesus brings me back to my point about Alfred. Not only is Alfred a trustworthy friend to Batman, but he’s a man who serves. He selflessly puts the needs of others ahead of his own and maintains a positive attitude along the way.
I’ve heard the playful quote, “Always be yourself, unless you can be Batman, then always be Batman.” Today, I’m proposing a new quote: “Be like Alfred.” When things seem dark, your dependability, trustworthiness, and service could be the heroic efforts that save the day!