This morning, I’m reflecting on a memorial service I had the joy of participating in yesterday. It was for a dear sister in Christ who was just 56 years old. She fought a valiant battle with cancer. And the Lord saw fit to bring her home. What I was encouraged by was all the stories of her life and her commitment to Christ. At church, she was quiet. She was often in the background. Yet she served faithfully in her area of giftedness. She didn’t get, nor would she have liked fanfare. In fact, she saw herself as someone underserving of any credit.
What made me think this morning was a comment that was said yesterday by someone who didn’t now our friend well. This person said, “I sat behind her all these years in church and I didn’t know any of this.” I thought, “how sad.” But it just reminds me that as we go to church this morning, we should all be aware that there are heroes of the faith all around us! There are people who have sacrificed, shared, served and suffered in and through their faith. These are brothers and sisters who are battle-tested and on some Sundays, just battle-worn. They have been “fighting the good fight.” They aren’t perfect and they know it. They don’t feel like they have the faith-thing nailed, but they do trust in the power and love of their Savior. What amazes me is they may even be the most uncomfortable ones at church. Nevertheless these are the ones we need to know! They will only make us stronger.
Hebrews 11 is known as the “Hall of Faith.” It is a listing of our great heroes of faith. People like Abel, Abraham, Rahab, Gideon, and David are recorded as inspirations. These are men and women who responded faithfully, but not perfectly, to the invitation of God to follow. God is not done with Hebrews 11. He is still writing that story today.
You may be headed to church today. Would you remember that God is adding to the story of faith in the lives of those unknown saints around you? Be courageous today, meet them. Find opportunities to hear their stories. You don’t want to discover at their memorial service you missed a chance to know what real, imperfect, yet powerful faith is all about.
You, the church and these quiet heroes will only be encouraged by it.