I went to my friend Rusty’s ordination many years ago. What he said left an impact on me, and I borrowed it to use for my ordination speech. He took Hebrews chapter 11 and spoke about faith and this list of people who lived great lives mentioned in that chapter. Then he said, the problem is that this passage was written too early. It was put together long before I lived, so I want to add some names to that list.
This list of names in that chapter are some of the greatest names in history, but they are also a little impersonal. I never spoke with them or asked them questions or looked at the expression on their faces. Their faith was a powerful testimony to the world, but I know some people who have a similar story on a slightly smaller scale. These are the people that I admire, and one of them might be you.
I see people who hold onto their faith in spite of incredible odds. Life seems stacked against them, and yet they grab their trust in God with both hands.
I watch people give selflessly week after week to other people. Often they are used and abused, and yet they keep right on serving. Each day they chose to touch the lives of others in the name of Jesus, and they show no signs of stopping.
I know people who have endured a seemingly impossible situation with grace and love. The doctor isn’t going to control their life. No diagnosis is stopping their prayers.
I observe the gentleness of parents with disabled children. They are finding love and joy in fleeting moments as a gift from God.
I notice people who speak words of love and grace when I know they are hurting inside.
I catch glimpses of people whose faith has seen more years than my life and yet are still humbling learning for people like me.
I embrace the hands of people who are kind, compassionate and loving to the degree that I cannot imagine.
The list could go on and on. I suppose that is why Hebrews 11 has no new names added to it because if you didn’t stop somewhere, the chapter would never end. In a dark and often scary world, there are heroes of the faith who walk among us. Some of you are my hero, and you have no idea. You keep faithfully serving, loving, and living in the name of Jesus.
Today, I hope you know that your faith is not in vain. I am inspired, encouraged, and blessed because of you.