Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which 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…”
Hebrews 12: 1-2
It is known as “Old Faithful.” It isn’t the grandest
or most spectacular geyser in Yellowstone National Park, but it is by far the most popular. The reason is because visitors can count on “Old Faithful” to be on time, every time.
As a pastor, I can think of a lot of who were like“Old Faithful.” Most were quiet and unassuming, often preferring to work in the background. To a person, you knew they loved the Lord and they loved their church. Every time, all the time, they could be counted on to do their part in building the Body of Christ; and the church was blessed and made stronger for it.
The same is true for our church. I am so grateful to see all the selfless serving and caring that flows out of this wonderful congregation. So many folks, drawn together in love for Christ and each other, giving so much in the way of time, talents and gifts, and constantly striving together to practice what Jesus called the “greatest commandments” – loving even more our God and our neighbor! Such is the key to greatness for any church, but especially for this church we call our spiritual home.
The author of Hebrews talks about faith. He even gives some examples of faithful people in the Bible(chapter 11) as inspiration to those who might read his letter. He also gives us sort of a definition for faith as being “the assurance of things hoped for but not seen.” More importantly, he shows us that faith is about believing, and trusting, and doing as faith is a life-long process of growing closer to Jesus Christ.
It is like a pilgrim journey, or even a race. It has a starting point and a finish line, and, of course, lots of living in between. We know how that is, don’t we? Life has its joys, and life has its challenges. And all along the way, we often find ourselves being“tested” (James acknowledged this). But we also find countless opportunities to grow in our faith and even touch the lives of others.
How we “run the race” is always our choice. We choose where we are going and how we will get there. But we don’t have to run alone. There are many “witnesses” pulling for us—some have gone before us and others are in our lives right now cheering us on. And the one cheering the loudest
is Jesus, the one who has gone before us to show the way. Are we looking to him? Have we made him our guide as well as our Savior?
This little hymn says it all:
Turn your eyes upon Jesus, look full in his wonderful face, and the things of earth will grow strangely dim in the light of his glory and grace.
In the love of Christ,