Read: Hebrews 11:1-32
It is once again Memorial Day weekend. There will be much more traveling from place to place both by car and plane this year than was done in 2020. From what we have seen on the news, people are ready to get away and celebrate this holiday that was set aside with the intent that we pause to honor those who have passed away, after having served our country.
It is certainly a fact that this church has the freedom and privilege to boldly proclaim biblical truth because of the service of multitudes of brave and honorable men and women who have served faithfully throughout the years. To them and to their families, we humbly and gratefully would like to say that all the sacrifices and service that you and your loved ones have given does not go unnoticed or unappreciated. Thank you to those whom we name in our hearts. Some of these precious ones have been a part of this church congregation, and we honor each one. We also say thank you to those whose names we do not know, with the understanding that God has seen all that they have done.
There is another group of people whom I would like to personally thank on this Memorial Day weekend. It is those who have lived and faithfully served the Lord. Some of these folks are well known. We read their commentaries and are thankful for their faithful and careful handling of the scriptures. Others served in very difficult circumstances while gracefully and boldly defending the truth of God. Their names are also well known. What an example they have demonstrated for us.
In today's scripture reading from Hebrews 11, we meet many faithful folks. Some we know well because we have read their stories many times. Others, such as a few of the judges, are lesser known names. However, God has pointed them out as having been faithful. Why? It is because they believed what the Lord said to them and acted on it. None of them did it perfectly, but by God's grace and with His enabling, they got up when they fell and continued to guide their lives by what God had told them. They obeyed Him whether that meant building an ark when rain had never fallen or leaving your homeland for parts unknown.
Maybe looking into a list of names that includes Noah, Moses and Abraham seems daunting. Yes, we know that they were humans just like us, just as James says that Elijah was, James 5:17. Even so, their accomplishments sometimes seem lofty compared to our own. At least, I sometimes think that way; so, may I introduce you to two ladies who also believed God and acted on their beliefs? It is time to meet Barbara Cooper and Becky Keys. I doubt that anyone besides me and my husband even knows their names. Yet, we would like to say thank you to them, these precious ones who are now with the Savior they love.
Becky and Barbara are two of my husband's former students. They met him when he was teaching crafts to blind adults. His class was a part of a training program into which they had enrolled. What did they do that warrants an honorable mention on this special weekend? They weren't used to bring multitudes out of slavery or to lead a victorious army. No, God used them to pray for my husband. It was their desire that he might come to know the Savior they loved. They also lived with joy and grace, in spite of trying circumstances. Barbara had undergone more surgeries than the years she had lived, and Becky dealt with blindness and other complications from diabetes. Yet, they lived with joy and a desire that others would have the Hope they had, 1 Peter 3:15. Because of the ways these ladies demonstrated their faith in quiet and pretty much unnoticed ways, it is right that we say thank you Barbara and thank you Becky. They were faithful, living, as the Hebrews 11 people did, by faith.
So, here's a challenge for us. Whether it is a command to obey or a promise from God's Word. Living by faith means obeying God's commands and resting in His promises. Just like our faithful witnesses in Hebrews 11, we won't do any of this perfectly; however, when we fall short, we have the cleansing of the blood of Jesus and the power of the Holy Spirit, 1 John 1:7; Acts 1:8. The Redeemer will finish the work that He began in our lives, Philippians 1:6.
Thank You Lord for those who have faithfully served our country and for the freedom they have helped to preserve. Such mercy You have shown our country.
Also, Thank You Lord for the faithful ones in each of our lives who You used in Your plan to bring us into Your family. Such mercy You have shown each of us whom You have saved, Ephesians 2:8-9.