“Inspiration from those who have gone before us helps us to be an inspiration of faithfulness to those who follow us.”
Thoughts from daily Bible reading for today – September 20, 2023
Since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith. Hebrews 12:1-2, NKJV
Headlines tend to scream about those who are unfaithful. Celebrity Minister Falls to infidelity or financial malfeasance or disqualify themselves with an ego power trip void of accountability. Yet, many who will never make headlines on earth are celebrated in heaven for remaining faithful to the end of their lives. Hebrews 11 describes this “cloud of witnesses,” who witnessed first-hand the faithfulness of God and, in turn, though suffered, were faithful to God. Inspiration from those who have gone before us helps us to be an inspiration of faithfulness to those who follow us. Children, grandchildren, friends, colleagues, brothers and sisters in Christ, a lost world…and most importantly, God is on the lookout for something real, someone faithful.
Alexander Maclaren carefully parses the word witnesses to remind us that this cloud of witnesses is not witnesses of us, but witnesses to us, “But we must remember that tempting as it is to a hasty reader to deduce from the words the idea that the saints whose ‘warfare is accomplished’ look down on our struggles here, there is, at all events, no support to that idea in the word ‘witnesses.’ It is not used, as often in our speech, as equivalent to spectators, but means here exactly what it does in the previous chapter, namely, attesters or testifiers. They are not witnesses of us, but to us.” As we witness faithfulness from God and others, we grow faithful.
“He who calls you is faithful, who also will do it.” (1 Thessalonians 5:24).
Will you be that person who will not allow temptations, trials, and untruths to lead you away from God? Will you keep top of mind, He who has called you—the Lord God Almighty is faithful to do His work in you? You will leave a legacy. Will it be a legacy of faithfulness that inspires others to faithfulness to the Lord or a legacy of unfaithfulness? Your legacy will include your blessings from God and how you were faithful in your generous investment of time, influence, and resources in the lives of others. How you remained faithful to the Lord in the face of suffering will be a legacy of trust and perseverance that will help others hold on to their faith. Most of all, make love the hallmark legacy of how you served others in the power of the Spirit.
The fruit of your life may be most evident after you pass from this life to the next. For example, those you faithfully pray for today may not find and follow Jesus until after you go to be with Jesus. You may have to die before a loved one will die to themselves and come alive to Christ. The Lord may use your funeral to gently call other souls to salvation as they experience a real-time reminder of their mortality. Plan your end-of-life celebration to exalt Christ and invite others to faith in Jesus. Your generous legacy will probably extend beyond your biological family to your spiritual family. Those you study the Bible with or the couples with whom you invest time in authentic community by doing life…rejoicing, and weeping together. Your volunteering to serve others in need in the name of Jesus leaves a legacy of the heart of Jesus…loving people well. Faithfulness to God is your witness of His faithfulness to you and for others to remain faithful.
“He endured the cross and ignored the shame of that death because He focused on the joy that was set before Him; and now He is seated beside God on the throne, a place of honor. Consider the life of the One who endured such personal attacks and hostility from sinners so that you will not grow weary or lose heart.” (Hebrews 12:2-3, VOICE).
Heavenly Father, I celebrate your faithfulness that inspires me to remain faithful to you through Christ’s love, and in Jesus’ name, Amen.
Consider planning and writing out your end-of-life celebration, click here for an example.
Stockholm Worship (Acoustic): Faithful to Forgive
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