Faith Heroes
     Hebrews 11 is a kind of Bible "Who's Who."  Abel, Enoch, Noah, Abraham, Sarah, Issac and Jacob are all names that most anyone with an even passing knowledge of the word has heard of.  Yet after the writer of Hebrews finishes listing them, he speaks of "all those" who walked the same path as those faith heroes.  None of their names are known, and of them, it is written that they all "died without receiving what God had promised them."  What had been promised, and how could God let anyone die without receiving the fullness of all He had promised?
     In this age of instant gratification, an age where leaving legacies, and monuments to ourselves, living out a life of faith that doesn't necessarily receive the acclaim of the world or the church is not a particularly attractive path to the flesh.  More, praying and believing for something we feel sure He has promised, yet has not, indeed, may not come to pass in our lifetime, also seems an exercise in futility to our flesh.  Yet the writer of Hebrews includes just such people in his roll of heavenly honor.  Those nameless, faceless crowds of Kingdom servants were called faith heroes just as were those ones whose names we do know.  The world may not have given them equal renown, but the Father did and does.  Their faithfulness, trust and obedience, their insistence upon clinging to the precious promises He had given them, regardless of circumstance, were precious in His eyes and in His heart.  They knew, as we must, that the Father works always with eternity in mind and view.  Our place and role is not limited to the here and now, but is found in the "everafter" of His Kingdom.  It was to His Kingdom, His "better country" that they were always drawn to, always looking for and heading for.  It was what had been promised, and Hebrews says that "they saw it all from a distance and welcomed the promises of God."  Because of it, scripture says that "He was not ashamed to be called their God."  He put within their hearts a longing for that better country, and an ability to see it, indeed, to live in it even though its fullness had not yet come.  They did so in all the various roles of life in which He placed them.  Whether others noticed or not didn't matter.  Their eyes were on Him, and knowing that He saw, that His favor and blessing was theirs was enough.  They lived not in the world that is passing away, but in the one that can never pass away.
     So how does this fit with you and I today?  Whether in ministry, profession, family roles, life, we are all moving toward something.  For all of us it will be either death or life.  For those who have chosen life, His life, towards what are we moving in that life?  Are our eyes fixed on that better country, or have we become entangled in the worlds values, and now try to make that better country come to pass here, building churches, ministries, careers and professions that bring us notice and applause, that leave a legacy, a monument?  Even if that is not a desire, there are so many who have been praying for so long, and yet, the answer has not come.  Pastors and laypeople alike have long sought an outpouring of His Spirit, yet that outpouring has yet to come.  Dare we believe it will?  Perhaps it will not be in our lifetime to see, but it will come.  The prayers of all those faith heroes before us, join with ours, as well as those who come after us, because all have their eyes upon that better country, that Kingdom whose maker is God.  Nothing has been able to deter their vision of that country, and their lives are dedicated to seeing its fullness come, and it will.  This is what it is to be a faith hero.
     I've a friend who, speaking of these heroes said, "You only fail if you give up the vision.  If you die in faith, never letting go of it, you're a success."  This is what it is to be a true hero of the faith, those whose legacies are found in the Kingdom, in Him.  As written in Habakkuk, "though the vision tarry, wait for it, it will come and not be late."  He has placed eternity in our hearts, and the longing for it.  Despite what every appearance may be, we can't let go of it, or take our eyes off of it.  He has promised, and He has shown us that vision we move towards.  Whether its fullness comes in our time or not, it will come, and we, like all those before us, and after us, will be faith heroes too,  ones who never gave up on the vision, who never let go of it. Ones in whom He will never be ashamed.

Pastor O
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   May 2019   
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