Running With the Giants
"Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us." (Hebrews 12:1)
This verse is preceded by the Hall of Faith passage in Hebrews 11 that describes the Old Testament Giants. These heroes of faith are part of the great crowd of witnesses watching us run the race of life.
When a crowd cheers or hollers you can’t distinguish one voice from another. But what if these individuals could step out of the crowd, come down to the track where we are running and jog one lap with us? What would they say?
Their time with us would be limited, so how could they share in just a few words the most important lesson they had learned from their own life. What words of wisdom would they use to encourage and empower us?
I picture us running into a stadium filled with the giants of the faith. As we enter, we see an ancient man coming out of the stands to greet us. His face is weathered, his hands are boney, there’s a hobble in his step. He is far older than any other human being we’ve ever seen. As you and I approach him, we are surprised to find that he manages to fall in step alongside us. He turns to us and says, “One person can make a difference.” Noah is running with us.
The next man stepping out from the crowd now reminds us a little of Noah, although he is not nearly as old. His clothing is similar to Noah’s, but he appears very well-to-do. Before we even have time to observe anything more about him, he quickly comes alongside us and immediately says, “My name is Abraham.”
We can hardly contain ourselves. Right beside us is the man the Hebrews call their father. The nation of Israel and the fulfillment of God’s plan really begin with Abraham and his family. Abraham was a friend of God! I wonder what this great man will say to us. We’ve run only a few steps when Abraham says with great assurance: “God always does the RIGHT THING.”
After our lap with Abraham, a man steps out and approaches the track. He is wearing white robes and, surprisingly, an Egyptian headdress. The first person you might think of is Pharaoh, the man who oppressed the Hebrews and opposed Moses prior to the Exodus. But he was not a person of faith, and you know he would not be in the stadium among the believers present to encourage us. Then it hits us. This is Joseph, the son of Jacob, who went from privileged son to the pit of slavery to the Palaces of Egypt.
As he strides up to us, he immediately starts speaking. He says, “Dreams are conceived long before they are achieved. The period of time between the birth of a dream and its realization is always a process. This period is filled with doubts, adversity, changes, and surprises. During the process you will experience good days and bad days. What counts is not your circumstances but your character. Your character will determine what you do with your life. Frequently in life you will be faced with a dilemma: ‘Do you give up or go on?’ Without hesitation I can give you the answer: Never give up on your dreams!”
To listen to this sermon series, CLICK HERE.