Faith Rev Dr Durrell Watkins, Senior Minister Anonymous writer of Hebrews is writing to a Hebrew Christian community, encouraging them to be faithful during times of difficulty. The letter to the Hebrews reads like a sermon, and so by the final chapter, chapter 13, we see the writer sort of wrapping up with some concluding […]
Rev Dr Durrell Watkins, Senior Minister
Anonymous writer of Hebrews is writing to a Hebrew Christian community, encouraging them to be faithful during times of difficulty. The letter to the Hebrews reads like a sermon, and so by the final chapter, chapter 13, we see the writer sort of wrapping up with some concluding points:
Care about people in prison.
Be against torture.
Not just a list rules for being a decent human.
Examples of faithfulness.
People of faith want to be faithful, and faithful living involves kindness, compassion, generosity, and so on.
In Hebrews 11, the writer actually defines faith.
Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.
Trust that what is hoped for is possible; the vision of what is possible is what we can hold onto when our hopes aren’t yet being realized.
He’s writing to people who have been jailed, tortured, saved by the kindness and hospitality of others, who have been generous even when they didn’t have much, and who have benefited from the generosity of others.
It’s the picture of people in community being faithful to high ideals and principles so that lives can be made better, especially during difficult times.
By faith (Heb 11 says):
Abel gave the better gift (& was killed)
Noah prepared for difficult days (& was ridiculed)
Moses’ parents hid him for 3 months to keep him safe
Moses then grew to liberate his people from slavery; they escaped from Egypt & crossed the sea (Moses never made it to the Promised Land)
Rahab, not knowing what would come of it, gave spies a place to hide.
The writer says there’s not enough time to tell of all the people who were faithful, many of whom never saw results of their faithfulness. They “died in faith”…being faithful until the end, trusting that their efforts mattered even if they couldn’t see how.
We’ve seen that as well.
HIV…some survived, others didn’t, but they marched, volunteered, raised money, participated in drug trials…they were faithful even though they might not see the benefit, but others benefited from their faithfulness. We have received the blessings of faithfulness of others; others will receive the blessings of our faithfulness. As we all do what we can, the world is made better.
So, the call is for us as people of faith to be faithful.
To build a community that cares for the hurting.
To speak against injustice and oppression.
To worship regularly, pray daily, give generously, and to do so trusting that even when times are difficult, we are sowing seeds that will yield a harvest of blessings at some time for someone whether we ever see it or not, but just as our efforts will help others, we are being helped by the faithfulness of those who went before us. We are part of this divine system of reaping what we did not sow and sowing what we did not reap.
Will you covenant with me today, as people of faith, to be faithful for the sake of our world? If so, then we are the good news.
© Durrell Watkins 2016
Faith is the substance of things hoped for…
The evidence of things not seen.
As a person of faith…
I live in the power of faith.
And so it is.