Hebrews 11:29-12:2

“By faith the people passed through the Red Sea as if it were dry land, but when the Egyptians attempted to do so they were drowned. By faith the walls of Jericho fell after they had been encircled for seven days. By faith Rahab the prostitute did not perish with those who were disobedient, because she had received the spies in peace.

And what more should I say? For time would fail me to tell of Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, of David and Samuel and the prophets— who through faith conquered kingdoms, administered justice, obtained promises, shut the mouths of lions, quenched raging fire, escaped the edge of the sword, won strength out of weakness, became mighty in war, put foreign armies to flight. Women received their dead by resurrection. Others were tortured, refusing to accept release, in order to obtain a better resurrection. Others suffered mocking and flogging, and even chains and imprisonment. They were stoned to death, they were sawn in two, they were killed by the sword; they went about in skins of sheep and goats, destitute, persecuted, tormented— of whom the world was not worthy. They wandered in deserts and mountains, and in caves and holes in the ground. Yet all these, though they were commended for their faith, did not receive what was promised, since God had provided something better so that they would not, apart from us, be made perfect.

Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight and the sin that clings so closely, and let us run with perseverance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus the pioneer and perfecter of our faith, who for the sake of the joy that was throne of God. set before him endured the cross, disregarding its shame, and has taken his seat at the right hand of the throne of God.” Hebrews 11:29-12:2

Have you ever considered how privileged you are to have the life that you have? It doesn’t matter if you are rich or poor, employed or unemployed, sick or healthy. Every day that God wakes you up on the top side of the grass is a day when you will have the privilege of being a blessing in the life of someone else. Do you realize that?

The writer of Hebrews reminds us that we are not alone. We are not alone today and we weren’t alone yesterday. We are “surrounded by a great cloud of witnesses.” There is nothing we will go through that many of our teammates have not already been through. There is nothing we will do that no one else has done before. But in THAT moment, when YOU take action – reaching out in compassion, greeting a stranger, letting a car merge in front of you, going the extra mile at work – you are creating history.

The world today is full of terrible news. Floods in Louisiana, riots in Milwaukee, Olympic swimmers robbed at gunpoint, captive girls on video, men shot on the way home from prayer, yet another death by drug overdose. The constant kaleidoscope of news reports and twenty second sound bites seldom capture the rest of the story – the compassionate response of those standing by to render aid, to listen with empathy, to stand with the victimized, and to cry out for justice.

Read the above passage again from Hebrews. This time notice again how those who went through so much were not able to see the fruits of their sacrifices, the harvest of their hopes. That is what it means to live by faith. It is also why our own recognition of the giants upon whose shoulders we stand is so important. We now carry the baton of life that has been handed down by those who have gone before us. WE are now the answer to prayers long past.

Let us run with perseverance the race that is set before us…

Let us pray: Dear Lord, two of the most grievous temptations in our lives is to fall prey to a sense of meaninglessness or to self-define our lives behind a wall of loneliness. Both of these deny your promises and ignore your presence. Give us opportunities today to be a blessing in someone else’s life and the courage to do the right thing. And in those moments, make us mindful of the golden thread of your love which weaves all people together. In Jesus’ name. Amen.


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