About two weeks ago, I wrote a post centered on some of the discouragement I feel at times as I try to carry out the ministry the Lord has given me. The intent of the post was not to focus on the discouragement phase but to highlight the way the Lord placed people in my path to help redirect my thinking. The goal was to encourage my readers that we must never grow so weary that we lose hope.
I was somewhat surprised that I received so many Facebook responses from former students and others to say how I had impacted their lives. Believe me, that wasn’t the reason for the post, but I gratefully accept all those personal notes of encouragement. That’s what we should be doing for one another—strengthening hearts, lifting spirits, and reminding each other of the high calling we’ve been given by His mercy and grace. Mercy, because none of us deserves the calling; grace, because without the infusion of the Holy Spirit in our lives we would never fulfill our ministries.
I’ve just finished reading the book of Hebrews for what could be the two hundredth time in my life (I really don’t keep track, but I do come back to that book regularly). I’m always struck by the chapter on faith, the author reminding his readers that God has worked in the lives of those who came before us. Those testimonies of faith are recorded for our benefit, to keep us ever mindful of God’s promises and how He leads His people through every trial.
Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.
As a historian, I can identify with thinking about the saints of ages past who are now watching the earthly drama continue to unfold. This cloud of witnesses is watching each one of us, pulling for us to come through triumphantly. Their testimony should encourage us to never let sin entangle us again, and it won’t, as long as we keep our spiritual eyes firmly fixed on the One who poured out Himself in love for us. He will perfect us in the faith if we are faithful to remain focused on Him. And as He overcame and now sits in the place of highest honor, so we can one day take our place at His feet.
So be encouraged as you walk out your Christian faith. Be a living testimony to the love of God as you help others find His heart of love. There is no higher calling, and He promised that our efforts will reap a harvest, provided we do not grow weary.