Jeremiah 41 Hebrews 11: 1-19
Last week I attended a meeting of ministers and other care-givers in order to learn more about ministering to the hurting. As I waited for the meeting to begin, the elderly man next to me introduced himself. I soon learned that he had lived his life as a pastor and was now retired.
Having reached retirement age myself, I began to ask him questions as to what retirement was like for him. As I listened to his description of a typical day in his life, I wasn’t sure whether I could manage the lack of activity that he described.
At one point in our conversation I asked him about his hopes for the future. His answer was in the form of a question, “Do you ever think about heaven?” The humorous side of me wondered if I appeared as one close to the grave. My serious answer, however, was, “Yes, I do think about heaven. A lot.”
I have stood at the bedside of quite a number of people throughout the years who were dealing with the last moments of their mortality. For us as Christians, the mystery of death is the final event prior to our entrance into an eternal relationship with our Lord.
Hebrews 11 is replete with brief case histories of men and women who lived lives of faith, and as a result, did exploits.
“Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. For by it the elders obtained a good testimony.” Hebrews 11:1,2.
Faith caused the heroes of Hebrews 11 to live their lives against the grain of their culture. Faith caused Noah to respond to a divine warning and build the ark that saved of his own household, and humanity. His faith condemned the rest of the world to annihilation.
Abraham offered up his son Isaac on a sacrificial altar, having concluded by faith that God was able to raise him up, even from the dead. He 11:19.
Pondering these examples of faith causes me to wonder about our own accomplishments brought about by faith.
The retired pastor who quizzed me about my thoughts on heaven spoke glowingly that morning about what was in store for us as Christ followers. We exchanged ideas as to what we thought heaven was going to be like. Faith grants us position to talk about things that have not occurred as though they had.
Reading Hebrews 11 should energize our faith. I have no problem believing the stories of these heroes. Their exploits accomplished by faith have propped up the faith for all of us at times when we needed strength for our wavering faith.
As Christians, we don’t live just in the past. I heard a Christian song this morning as I went about my day’s schedule. The song was a strong enunciation of the fact that Jesus was coming back to this earth. For those of us who have been Christians for a long time, we have been sufficiently reminded of the imminence of His coming. Our faith has caused us to cling to that hope.
Yes, I do think about heaven. The very foundation of our relationship with God was initiated by faith. “For by Grace are you saved by Faith.” Our faith gives us a new lens through which we see the world. Like the men and women of Hebrews 11, we can dream about heaven, though we have never been there.
Since that meeting on care giving, I have thought more about improving my grip on faith than how I might improve my ability to care for people.