“All these died in faith, without receiving the promises, but having seen and welcomed them from a distance, and having confessed that they were strangers and exiles on the earth.” (Hebrews 11:13 NASB) Most of us are probably very familiar with this chapter in Hebrews, which has been called the Hall of Faith. The written account of some of the men and women of old who served God, obeyed Him, and believed Him.
I cannot imagine the grit, the courage, the determined commitment they must have possessed to give their lives for the sake of something they would not witness on this side of heaven. They were called from beyond, and they lived beyond themselves. It takes faith to partner with the invisible to accomplish what would otherwise be impossible.
Consider the masons of medieval times, whose handiwork is evident in cathedrals scattered across Europe and still standing today. Long, long ago, fathers taught their sons the skills of design, carpentry and masonry, knowing that it would most likely be their grandchildren or possibly even their great grandchildren who would finally put the last stones in place. They had to see and believe in something beyond their own lifetimes.
In our world of minute rice, online banking, and pop-up campers, that kind of long-term commitment and dedication seems almost entirely foreign. How often do you consider what life will be like for your great, great, great grandchildren and what part you might play in your life today that will impact them, should the Lord tarry?
For the follower of Christ, this idea of living for the future is found in the Lord’s prayer: “Thy Kingdom come. Thy will be done, on Earth as it is in Heaven.” We are living moment by moment with the breathtaking reality that His Kingdom is advancing, and Jesus, the King of kings and Lord of lords, will return. We might not see Jesus return before we die, but we live with the assurance that He will come again, and that His glorious Church will be ready when He does.
I am a member of that universal Church, and when Earth ceases to be the place of my habitation, I will be ushered into the great congregation of witnesses to await the return of the King and become one of the “dead in Christ” who will “meet Him in the air.” (1 Thessalonians 4:16 NASB)
In the meantime, I cultivate. I tend and nurture the relationships He gives me to steward. I choose to build up rather than tear down, taking every opportunity to encourage and exhort. I get to live every day partnering with Christ to love the person in front of me and praying for the prosperity of the land in which I have “pitched my tent.” “By faith he [Abraham] lived as a stranger in the land of promise, as in a foreign land, living in tents with Isaac and Jacob, fellow heirs of the same promise; for he was looking for the city which has foundations, whose architect and builder is God.” (Hebrews 11:9 NASB)
Dearly beloved, how are you tending? What are your building? Will it stand the test of time? As we approach the end of Summer and begin preparing for the season of harvest, take time to evaluate your priorities. What matters? What has eternal value? “Blessed is the person who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked, nor stand in the path of sinners, nor sit in the seat of scoffers! But his delight is in the Law of the Lord, and on His Law he meditates day and night. He will be like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in its season, and its leaf does not wither; and in whatever he does, he prospers.” (Psalm 1:1-3 NASB) “Blessed is a man who perseveres under trial; for once he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life which the Lord has promised to those who love Him.” (James 1:12 NASB)
Until next week, dear one, stand in Christ, looking for the city whose builder and maker is God.