April 3, 2009
Encouragement from the "Hall of Faith"
by Charles R. Swindoll
Just as there is a Hall of Fame for outstanding athletes who distinguished themselves in various sports in America, the Bible contains what we might call a "hall of faith." It is located in the eleventh chapter of the book of Hebrews---a fascinating record of names and events in which each individual modeled a faith-related accomplishment.
Pause right now and read Hebrews 11:1-31 for yourself. I'll wait.
-- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- --
Pretty amazing stuff, isn't it? One person after another, acting on faith, stepped out of the ranks of the ordinary and trusted God in remarkable ways.
And that's not anywhere near an exhaustive list. When you read the remaining nine verses of the chapter, you find still others who stood strong, refusing to give in when the going got rough. There were men as well as women. Younger and older alike. Leaders and followers. The list includes people in numerous categories: kings, prophets, judges, and warriors.
I remember reading of these heroes when I was only a boy, imagining one scene after another, thinking how great it would be to have them standing nearby cheering us on today.
The truth is---they are! We can't actually see them with our eyes, but they're surrounding us, nevertheless. How do we know that? Read on:
Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us. (Hebrews 12:1)
There they are---all those men and women of faith, who have died and gone on to their reward---but they aren't lounging around heaven strumming on harps. No, they (along with many others not mentioned in Hebrews 11) form that "great cloud of witnesses surrounding us."
As we carry on without them today, they encourage us to stand strong, to run the race of life with discipline and diligence. What a great thought!
Reprinted by permission. Day by Day, Charles Swindoll, July 2005, Thomas Nelson, inc., Nashville, Tennessee. All rights reserved. Purchase "Day by Day" here.