“Let another praise you, and not your own mouth; A stranger, and not your own lips.” Proverbs 27:2 NASB
Two men that many would call their heroes. Both were leaders by example. Both accomplished feats that young boys could only dream of. Both never cared for the spotlight. Both chose to do the right things. But they never did it for the praise.
The Unlikely Hero
Sergeant Alvin York was born in a two-room log cabin in Pall Mall, Tennessee. As a young man York was known for causing trouble and also for being an exceptional marksman. He was the kind of person most expected to amount to nothing. They figured he would end up in jail, dead or both.
In 1914, while on his personal path of destruction, York’s best friend was killed in a bar fight. The event shook him to the core and led to his attending a Christian revival and ongoing prayer meetings. York, who adopted pacifism with his newfound salvation thought he was on a quieter and less challenging path. But that was not the path intended for him.
World-War I, along with his eventual draft and deployment, led York to the front lines in Europe. On October 8, 1918, York found himself in uniform as a member of Company G in the 328th infantry, 82nd Division, also known as the “All American Division”. Along with 17 other soldiers that day, he found himself accidentally behind enemy lines after following a French map on a mission to gain control of a local railroad.
After a firefight and much confusion the Americans suddenly held captive a group of nearly 150 German soldiers. But this too would quickly change. Two German machine gunners turned their turrets 180 degrees toward the Americans, killing and wounding several men before York was ordered to stop the shooters. He successfully took the German gunners out, leading to the capture of 132 enemy soldiers by only 18 Americans including York. Yet he would be the last person to take pride in these accomplishments. 
For Love of the Fans
During the 2018 MLB All Star Game, Mike Trout came under a different kind of fire. The seven-time All Star and two-time MLB Most Valuable Player was being called out for not being “actively engaged” enough in marketing himself. His choosing not to hit the publicity circuit as hard as he could was showcased as a branding negative.
What is great about this story is what happened next. Trout could have defended himself by naming his accomplishments both on and off the field but he didn’t. Instead, one by one, fans of Trout and those who had simply met him, started praising him. They could have easily touted his on-the-field skills — Trout may be the best young all around hitter since Ted Williams — but these were a different sort of praise.
It was the child he pulled on the field before the game to warm up, stretch and talk with. The four year old fan he sent a birthday video to during his free time. The three servicemen he signed balls for and invited onto the field for a picture.  One after another, praise after praise streamed in from every corner of baseball fandom. Rather than praising himself, he let another praise him, many others in fact.
Let Another Praise You
Praise is something that many of us innately crave. This may come from an extreme of being over or under praised as a child. Or perhaps we got a taste of it when playing sports or through work. But as a Christian I’m reminded that it is much better to be praised by another than to do so myself. I try to remember that living for the ultimate praise of my Creator exceeds any adulation I could ever receive.
York and Trout probably could boast about themselves more than most men but that is simply not how they operate. Though York was portrayed in a war hero movie starring Gary Cooper he declined the type of media circuit one might be found on today. He instead used the praise of others to bring attention to the needs of his community and to promote the importance of education for the mountain boys and girls of Tennessee.
Both men preferred to do the small things to make an impact around them without fanfare. They let others praise them and for this they can be recognized as much, if not more, for their humility than talent. Their selfless service to community and country displays a silent courage that takes much more strength than loud spoken bravado. And for that I praise them as great examples of what true heroes are and should be.