What a heritage we have at River Road Church! I am grateful for the faith of those men and women who poured their time and money into founding our church. I am grateful for the faith of those who risked life, family, and resources to settle in this new land of America in order to worship as they believed.
The writer of Hebrews includes a list of our spiritual forefathers who exhibited amazing faith. He then concludes his list with these words:
“By faith these people overthrew kingdoms, ruled with justice, and received what God had promised them. They shut the mouths of lions, quenched the flames of fire, and escaped death by the edge of the sword. Their weakness was turned to strength. They became strong in battle…. Some were mocked, and their backs were cut open with whips. Others were chained in dungeons. Some died by stones. Some went about in skins of sheep and goats, hungry and oppressed and mistreated” (The Message).
Eugene Peterson’s contemporary rendering of our passage for today really makes it clear to me:
“Do you see what this means–all these pioneers who blazed the way, all these veterans cheering us on? It means we’d better get on with it. Strip down, start running–and never quit! No extra spiritual fat, no parasitic sins. Keep your eyes on Jesus, who both began and finished this race we’re in. Study how he did it. Because he never lost sight of where he was headed–that exhilarating finish in and with God–he could put up with anything along the way; cross, shame, whatever. And now he’s there in the place of honor, right alongside God. When you find yourselves flagging in your faith, go over that story again, item by item, that long litany of hostility he plowed through. That will shoot adrenaline into your souls!”
In this season of reflection, keep you eyes on Jesus, who began and finished the race we’re in. Go once again over the stories of how he did it. If time allows, read Hebrews 12 and 13.