My graduating class just celebrated our thirtieth anniversary with a class reunion. I was unable to attend due to distance and scheduling, but I laughed and smiled at the pictures of people with whom I spent my high school years. The other day I saw a bottle of pop with the word Alumni on it. I realized that not only am I an alumni of my high school and college, but I am also an alumni of certain life events. It made me wonder, what would an alumni gathering look like from a Biblical perspective?
Throughout the pages of Scripture we read of men, prophets, and leaders being thrown into pits (Joseph, Jeremiah, Daniel), being thrown into jail (Peter, Paul, Silas), being pursued by kings and queens (David, Elijah), men who wandered in the wilderness (Abraham, Moses). The list could go on and on.
As I think of these men of faith who sought the face of God above all else, I can only imagine their conversation in Heaven comparing stories. Each one of them would share their experiences, but in the end, it would come back to the simple truth, God was bigger than the fears they faced.
The passage of Hebrews 11 records even more, And what more shall I say? I do not have time to tell about Gideon, Barak, Samson and Jephthah, about David and Samuel and the prophets, who through faith conquered kingdoms, administered justice, and gained what was promised; who shut the mouths of lions, quenched the fury of the flames, and escaped the edge of the sword;whose weakness was turned to strength; and who became powerful in battle and routed foreign armies (v. 32-34).
Each time I read of the “cloud of witnesses” (Hebrews 12:1) I find myself wanting to stand a little straighter, hold my head a little higher, and tighten my shoelaces to keep going forward on my Faith Journey. The men and women who have loved God even in the face of death, who did not turn away from Him when offered life for denying Him; they are the ones that I look to for encouragement.
Serving God here in America is pretty benign compared to the experiences mentioned above. I don’t have pits, lion dens, or stonings to worry about. But, I think the benign life I live is actually equal to the lions den. We are in great danger of becoming complacent, forgetful, and indifferent to the Heavenly Power that resides in our souls.
O Best Beloved, we are going to be the cloud of witnesses for the next generation, the alumni of Faith they will look to for encouragement, stories, and reminders that following Jesus is worth it all. If we aren’t taking our faith seriously, calling out to God to guide our steps, being afraid to step out and doing it anyway. If we aren’t making this our Faith Journey what will we leave behind as our legacy?
Let us follow the instructions left for us in Hebrews 12; let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart (v. 1b-3).
Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe, for our “God is a consuming fire” (Hebrews 12:28-29).
May we choose to be consumed every day.