MONDAY, JUNE 11
SCRIPTURE: HEBREWS 11
There is no such thing as a bad chapter in the Bible. But with that said, there are some chapters that just seem to be amazingly exceptional and present great truth in soaring terms that capture our hearts, minds, and souls. Genesis 1 might be one of those. Psalm 23 could be on that list. John 3 is probably one of those. Romans 8 fits that category. And Hebrews 11 is surely one of those. It is after all, the Great Hall of Faith.
It might be helpful to reread that first verse again. It is important. Steven Ger in his commentary on Hebrews breaks down this incredible verse this way: “Now faith (the confident belief in God’s ability to carry out His expressed purposes) is the substance (the foundational basis or essence underlying the attitude of assurance) of that which is hoped for (our certain expectation that God will make good His promises).” In other words, we should live with that confident, certain knowledge that because God has done This we know He will do That.
Verse 6 tells us why faith is so important. We can’t please God apart from faith in Him. Because we have not seen him with our physical eyes, by faith we have to believe that not only does He exist but that He rewards those who seek Him.
As verse 3 teaches, this living by faith has been a requirement for every human. There have been no exceptions. The reason verse 3 teaches this is no one saw the creation process – the creation of everything from nothing. Adam and Eve didn’t even seen it. So, again, all who would please God, all who would have a personal relationship with God must do so through the vehicle of faith.
From that point, this chapter launches into a long history of people who lived by faith. They lived with confident expectation that God would do what He said He would do. They lived with unshakeable hope that God’s Kingdom would come. They traveled far, endured much, and waited expectantly.
This Hall of Faith lists some of the most recognizable names of the Old Testament. It reminds us of great stories that we need to know and to be reminded of. But when you get to verse 36, things change just a bit.
Here we read about the “others”. They are not named. But they were important. They lived in virtual anonymity but they did good stuff. Indeed, verse 38 says these folks were so important the world is not worthy of them.
In the church world in general and in the Southern Baptist Convention in particular there are some big names. Names that most pastors recognize readily. Names that get a lot of press and publicity. Names that are often seen on the speakers’ list of big events. And most of those big names are good guys who love Jesus and believe in the power of the Gospel.
But, by in large, the Southern Baptist Convention is made up of others. These are pastors who will labor in the Gospel for the entire lives and other than for the 100 or so that attend the church no one will know their names. And not long after their deaths, not even those who remain in that church will remember much about their previous pastors.
The vast majority of pastors will work in anonymity. Their reward will not be name recognition or lots of money in their retirement accounts. They are our modern day “others”. Their reward will be in heaven where they will not exist in anonymity. They will know and be known. God forgive us for not knowing them now and recognizing their value in the Kingdom.