So I’m gearing up to preach on Hebrews 12:1-2 here in a couple of weeks…going to talk about how life is a race and like all races we have to endure. This is a race that takes us through the entire course of our lives and involves everything from the shape our character to our families and jobs to the people we impact and ends only when we come face to face with Jesus. It’s not a race about finishing first (as if we even could, having millions who have finished before we were even born), it’s not about being fast, it’s not even about being graceful (some of the most faithful people have stumbled through life)…but it is about finishing. Enduring. Persevering.
The very first thing the author mentions about running with endurance is the great cloud of witnesses who surround us. This, of course, draws us immediately back to chapter 11 where we are reminded of the stories of men and women from Old Testament times who were far from perfect but trusted in God. Some we know well like Abraham, Moses, and David. Some we just have small snippets of their lives like Abel and Enoch. And others are…well just that, “the others”—men and women who were mocked, beaten, destitute, wandering in deserts and living in holes in the ground (doesn’t sound like a fun life, but the comment is these are the ones “of whom the world is not worthy,” that’ll make you think).
Of course in the 2000 years since this was written we have many more who have joined that cloud of witnesses including those in our churches and families just a generation or two before us. These are men and women, brothers and sisters in Christ, who serve as the examples, mentors, friends, guides, and coaches we so desperately need to really know how to honor Jesus and live life fully for him.
So let’s open this up: who in your life has shined as a member of the cloud of witnesses, and how have they helped shape your Christian walk?