Who Are Your Heroes?

Hebrews 11:4-40
4By faith Abel offered to God a more acceptable sacrifice than Cain, through which he was commended as righteous, God commending him by accepting his gifts. And through his faith, though he died, he still speaks.

5By faith Enoch was taken up so that he should not see death, and he was not found, because God had taken him. Now before he was taken he was commended as having pleased God. 6And without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him.

7By faith Noah, being warned by God concerning events as yet unseen, in reverent fear constructed an ark for the saving of his household. By this he condemned the world and became an heir of the righteousness that comes by faith.

8By faith Abraham obeyed when he was called to go out to a place that he was to receive as an inheritance. And he went out, not knowing where he was going. 9By faith he went to live in the land of promise, as in a foreign land, living in tents with Isaac and Jacob, heirs with him of the same promise. 10For he was looking forward to the city that has foundations, whose designer and builder is God.

11By faith Sarah herself received power to conceive, even when she was past the age, since she considered him faithful who had promised. 12Therefore from one man, and him as good as dead, were born descendants as many as the stars of heaven and as many as the innumerable grains of sand by the seashore.

13These all died in faith, not having received the things promised, but having seen them and greeted them from afar, and having acknowledged that they were strangers and exiles on the earth. 14For people who speak thus make it clear that they are seeking a homeland. 15If they had been thinking of that land from which they had gone out, they would have had opportunity to return. 16But as it is, they desire a better country, that is, a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared for them a city.

17By faith Abraham, when he was tested, offered up Isaac, and he who had received the promises was in the act of offering up his only son, 18 of whom it was said, “Through Isaac shall your offspring be named.” 19 He considered that God was able even to raise him from the dead, from which, figuratively speaking, he did receive him back.

20By faith Isaac invoked future blessings on Jacob and Esau.

21By faith Jacob, when dying, blessed each of the sons of Joseph, bowing in worship over the head of his staff.

22By faith Joseph, at the end of his life, made mention of the exodus of the Israelites and gave directions concerning his bones.

23By faith Moses, when he was born, was hidden for three months by his parents, because they saw that the child was beautiful, and they were not afraid of the king’s edict.

24By faith Moses, when he was grown up, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter, 25choosing rather to be mistreated with the people of God than to enjoy the fleeting pleasures of sin. 26He considered the reproach of Christ greater wealth than the treasures of Egypt, for he was looking to the reward. 27By faith he left Egypt, not being afraid of the anger of the king, for he endured as seeing him who is invisible. 28By faith he kept the Passover and sprinkled the blood, so that the Destroyer of the firstborn might not touch them.

29By faith the people crossed the Red Sea as on dry land, but the Egyptians, when they attempted to do the same, were drowned.

30By faith the walls of Jericho fell down after they had been encircled for seven days.

31By faith Rahab the prostitute did not perish with those who were disobedient, because she had given a friendly welcome to the spies.

32And what more shall I say? For time would fail me to tell of Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, of David and Samuel and the prophets— 33who through faith conquered kingdoms, enforced justice, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions, 34quenched the power of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, were made strong out of weakness, became mighty in war, put foreign armies to flight. 35Women received back their dead by resurrection. Some were tortured, refusing to accept release, so that they might rise again to a better life. 36Others suffered mocking and flogging, and even chains and imprisonment. 37They were stoned, they were sawn in two, they were killed with the sword. They went about in skins of sheep and goats, destitute, afflicted, mistreated— 38of whom the world was not worthy—wandering about in deserts and mountains, and in dens and caves of the earth.

39And all these, though commended through their faith, did not receive what was promised, 40since God had provided something better for us, that apart from us they should not be made perfect.

This list of Biblical heroes, along with a sentence about their story, is absolutely stirring. Hebrews 11 is a flagship of the faith because these people lived with God and believed His promises. And for us to be regularly reminded of them builds our faith thousands of years later. This chapter has long been titled Heroes of the Faith for that is exactly what they are – heroes.

Reviewing all of their stories here in this blog serves little purpose, as the writer of Hebrews does a great job with just a few words for each person. But what was inspired in me as I read this chapter again today was a need to review my own past and think about those people in my life who are my personal Heroes of the Faith. As those thoughts began to emerge, I was overwhelmed by the number of people who belong on my list. I’m going to note a few of them here and I encourage you to think through who your heroes might be as well.

I must begin with my parents. By faith, they brought me to the waters of baptism and then fanned that flame of faith throughout my life. God was the ever-present force in our lives and they reminded me of Him daily. They still do.

By faith, Pastor Reimnitz diligently spoke the Gospel from the pulpit, nurtured my faith on a personal basis and endured my endless questions during confirmation instruction.

By faith, our DCE, Bob, taught me what it meant to live your faith out in the real world and inspired in me a desire to work in the church as a DCE myself.

By faith, my college professors, Dr. Harre, Dr. Lange carefully instructed me in the faith and allowed me room to question, write about the faith, and learn just how deep God’s Word goes.

By faith, my husband offers me grace every single day, even though I don’t deserve it. He has lived as an example of what a faith-filled life is supposed to look like with out fail for 40 years.

By faith, my daughters have surpassed my meager faith on numerous occasions, moving me to prayer when needed and remaining faithful in their role as faith heroes to their own children.

By faith, Marcos and Chad, my sons-in-law, have taught me what servant leadership looks like and have mentored my grandchildren in the faith with perseverance and dedication.

By faith, my best friends have courageously called me out when I was being a jerk or displaying anything but faithfulness and has encouraged me to be what God has called me to be without allowing distractions to pull me in other directions. Her dedication to me is one of life's greatest gifts.

By faith, there are so many members of my church who unknowingly represent Christ to me almost every day I can't list them all because I don't want to leave anyone out.

There aren’t enough moments in the day to list everyone who has been used by God to teach me the faith. I am blessed indeed, for I am surrounded by people who act with faith and serve God with their lives. Take some time and think about your own faith heroes. I guarantee, you’ll be blown away.