If you are like me, I like to watch football. While living in Viking territory, I am a Lions fan. Stop laughing, someone has to root for them. I like them because my husband is a die-hard fan and I like my hubby. I also like the Packers. Rob says I can’t love both teams but I do what I want so I can (wink wink). Before the Packers Seahawks game a few nights ago, former Cowboys coach Jimmy Johnson was told that he is going to be inducted into the Hall of Fame. This is a big deal for the NFL. He cried when he got the news, on public TV.
Wouldn’t it be cool to be inducted into a hall of fame for something? While our world celebrates greatness in many ways, there is a hall of fame that is worth mentioning. It is one which carries into eternity. You can read about the inductees in Hebrews 11. This chapter starts out with what faith is. “Faith is the confidence that what we hope for will actually happen; it gives us assurance about things we cannot see.” We all need faith and hope. It’s the fuel for our gas tanks so we keep on moving forward.
God has planted faith within each of us. We have the capability to find God and to live out His love. Let’s discover what it takes to be a hall of famer of faith and see if we have what it takes to live like they did. I will give the spoiler alert, we do have what it takes! We are one choice away from becoming an inductee!
Cain and Abel were the first born children of Adam and Eve. It didn’t take long for man, draped in sin, to act out against God. Cain killed his brother over jealousy and not liking how God dealt with things. Abel is one who is immortalized in God’s hall of fame. He gave God an acceptable offering which made him righteous. What are we doing for Him? Are we giving God our best? Is our spirit in alignment with Christ?
Enoch was a person who pleased God. He sincerely sought Him. The scripture say that God took him up to heaven without dying. His faith demonstrated that his actions were in align with God. To please God we must have faith. It is impossible without it. Does your life reveal the things that make God happy? Do you know what pleases Him? Enoch did.
Everyone knows Noah, the master builder of the ark. He obeyed God. God spoke of a flood coming. Do you realize that before the flood it never had rained? Can you imagine the ridicule from people when he built the large boat? Would you listen to God if he spoke something ridiculous to you or absurd or preposterous? Noah went ahead with what he was told despite no one ever seeing rain. This is called crazy love! Noah loved God so personally that He listened, no matter what.
Abraham, the father of many nations, obeyed God despite the logistics of old age. Before God even answered him about having children, God asked him to leave his home and go somewhere. Abraham did not know the where but he went anyway for he knew the who. His wife, Sarah, believed God would keep His promise that she would become a mother. Well past child-rearing years, they had Isaac and Isaac made them grandparents with Jacob. Doesn’t God go beyond what He tells us? They believed God can do the impossible. How about you? When God speaks, do you listen? Do you have faith in your Heavenly Father that He will lead you and provide, even if it’s into the unknown?
I would think these hall of famers were good listeners. Yet, I think they had another trait in their hearts that set them apart. They also heard God. There is a difference between listening and hearing, isn’t there? Listening is passive. One can listen without responding. Hearing, on the other hand, is active. When one hears, one responds accordingly. Religious men listen. Believing men hear. Which are you?
I love to tell the story of my mother in how she went from listening to hearing. My mom listened her whole life but it wasn’t until she was in her 70’s when she learned to hear. It was after my father passed away and while grieving and questioning God, He led her on an Emmaus Walk. There, He ministered to her heart and helped her to see and hear beyond her Lutheran faith. As I recall a conversation after she returned from her walk, “Carol, your mother has her head screwed on straight!”. I chuckled with her as we both knew that she became fully invested in Christ. Isn’t God amazing!?! Even when someone is in their later years, He doesn’t stop pursuing the hearts of men.
In her final years, my mom helped lead a Bible study in her apartment. She led the worship part. She loved music. She sang of God throughout her life. Even at her funeral, which was held a week before Easter, we had to sing Silent Night, her favorite. And I read her favorite scripture, John 14. You should read it. It’s quite good 🙂
I believe if we could see God add people, those who have moved on, to Hebrews 11, we would read about Pauline Irene Aho Vertanen. And we would read about so many others who have lived for Christ. What legacy has someone left for you to model after? If you don’t have one, please don’t despair. It will not stay that way! We have the ultimate model, Jesus Himself. When we walk with Jesus, all the unfairness is wiped away! This is why we need to become readers of one book, The Bible, and learn all we can from within its pages. We need to be students of Jesus and His disciples and then live out what He is revealing to us.
We need to remember that faith does not hibernate, hiding only squelches the Spirit within us. Faith has timeless style. It will fit us better than a pair of Levi’s. Faith matures us. If we remain unchanged then Jesus does not reside within our hearts. We will be stretched by faith. God cannot leave us alone. He loves us too much to let us drift farther away from Him. His wooing is unconditional and unrelenting. It’s best we stop fighting and simply surrender for God is shaping us for heaven.
2 Peter 3:9 says, “The Lord isn’t really being slow about His promise, as some people think. No, He is being patient for your sake. He does not want anyone to be destroyed, but wants everyone to repent.” As each day passes, we are getting closer to Christ’s return. We all must be living in preparation for that grand day.
Let’s walk united in love and share God’s amazing love with everyone around us and live like hall of famers! This world would be a better place.