The folks listed in Hebrews 11 are often referred to as the Hall of Fame of the Faithful. Hebrews 12:1 seems to suggest that we are to think of this group of people as a “great cloud of witnesses” that is urging us on in the faith. The point: We need heroes, shining examples of faithfulness to imitate. The Scriptures identify some who are supposed to live exemplary lives (1 Timothy 4:12 and 1 Peter 5:3). Furthermore, Hebrews 13:7 instructs believers to “remember your leaders, who spoke the word of God to you. Consider the outcome of their way of life and imitate their faith.”
It seems clear to me that God wants us to have spiritual heroes. We must note that there are many who are shining examples of faithfulness who will never serve as apostles, prophets, pastors, teachers, or evangelists. In my estimation, there are vast categories of people whose legacy should be enshrined in faith’s Hall of Fame. Some of my heroes are:
Mothers of young children. Sometimes just getting everyone to the worship gathering is an heroic accomplishment. Then the wrestling match begins. Perhaps I’m exaggerating, but these ladies are still heroes to me. They’re exhausted from mid-night feedings and all of the other jobs they do. Still, they muster the troops and get their children to Bible class so they can learn more about God. In fact, these young mothers are very often the ones who are teaching the classes!
Young people who walk with the Lord. Millions of words have been spoken and written about peer pressure. I’m convince that everyone—not just young people—experiences it, too. However, teenagers who decide to follow Jesus today are subjecting themselves to one of the strongest currents of opposition that any generation has ever faced. Every single one of them who has an iPod full of Christians music and chooses to follow the One who inspired that music is a hero of mine.
Wives who serve the Lord without the encouragement of their husbands. Some of these sisters have husbands that have turned their backs on the Lord. Others have husbands that have never decided to follow Jesus. Their burden is great, but there is hope that their lives of purity and reverence will someday win their husbands to the Lord without any words having to be spoken (cf. 1 Peter 3:1-2).
Senior saints who continue to joyfully serve the Lord. They’re often the ones who brave the cold, while the younger folks stay at home due to inclement weather. It just never ceases to amaze me that, based on human rationale, those who have the strongest case for excused absences from various kingdom endeavors because of battle scars and various aches and pains, usually show up early and stay late when work for the Lord is on the line. No list of heroes in the faith would be complete without our senior saints.
True seekers of every stripe and flavor. We live in a day-and-time when relativism rules. While everybody matters to God, everyone’s point-of-view is not equally valid. Perhaps we would be correct in saying that every human’s point of view is equally invalid, though (cf. Proverbs 14:12). When it comes to living our lives, whether we are young or old or somewhere in between, seeking the Lord is life’s most noble pursuit. For, it was Jesus who said that we are to seek the Father’s kingdom and righteousness first in our lives!
There are more people-groups who should be on this list, I’m sure. This list does seem to make it clear that the key to being a hero in the faith, whether young or old, ancient or contemporary, is having the courage to take God at His Word and walk by faith, not by sight.
What do you think makes someone a hero?
Who are your heroes?
Who is looking at the outcome of your way of life and imitating your faith?
© Bill Williams, September 15, 2006