It’s Super Bowl Sunday and the two best teams in the NFL were vying for the title of the best football team in the world. It’s quite an honor and regardless of which team you were rooting for, the fact that these players have demonstrated their skill and prowess in this forum is unbelievable. It’s history now – in the books forever. The first overtime Super Bowl ever and there is no doubt that while many will celebrate the Patriots’ win, just as many, if not more, are disappointed with the outcome. But it was an exciting game – all the way to the end. Kids live their entire childhoods dreaming about their own shot at the Super Bowl, or the World Series, or any other world title. Not only does it signify reaching the pinnacle of the game, but winning a world title sets you apart from the masses and can change your life forever.
In fact, there is probably only one thing better than winning a world title and that is entrance into the Hall of Fame. As part of the celebration surrounding the Super Bowl, yesterday marked the annual voting for the Football Hall of Fame. Like a world title, recognition of excellence and induction into the Hall of Fame is an honor that people seek their entire lives. And it can be elusive. Pete Rose, who was banned from baseball for betting on his team, has sought reinstatement so he can be considered for the Baseball Hall of Fame. While he has been inducted into the Cincinnati Reds Hall of Fame, it’s not quite the same thing. And Rose has been trying since at least 1989 when he was banned from the game.
Earlier today, commentators were discussing inductees into the Football Hall of Fame and there was quite some disagreement about the records of certain players and whether or not they will eventually be invited into one of the most exclusive clubs on the planet. Tempers flare and emotions run high when discussing these types of honors. The things people do to try and prove themselves worthy of accepting an appointment to the HOF defies description. But the point of tonight’s post isn’t about an earthly Hall of Fame – but something far more important.
Did you know that the Bible contains a Hall of Fame? Yep – it sure does… the Hall of Fame of Faith! That’s right. And it’s in the New Testament – right in the book of Hebrews. The writer of this book is unknown to us. Some scholars maintain that Paul wrote it, while others believe it was written by a scribe or even a group of authors. Regardless of who wrote the words, we can be assured that the inspiration for Hebrews came from the Holy Spirit – the same as the rest of the Bible. After all, we are assured that all Scripture is God breathed…
So what is this Hall of Fame? Well, it’s a list of people that God deemed worthy of recognition for their faith journey. And they are specifically called out in the Scripture. As great as inclusion in our earthly Hall of Fames may be, it pales in comparison to being recognized by God in His ultimate Hall of Fame!
Members of this select group include Abel, Enoch, Moses, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph and Rahab. Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, David and Samuel are also in the club even though the author indicated he didn’t have enough time to go into all the details of what the truly faithful have accomplished. But one thing is for sure – they have all been a beacon of hope and inspiration to the rest of us – especially if we go back and learn their stories.
The verse for this evening is the opening verse of the chapter telling us about the incredibly faithful. The author tells us, in Hebrews 11:1, “Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see. This is what the ancients were commended for.” So, right out the gate we are told the definition of faith and what is expected of us as Christians – certainty in God and His Son, Jesus.
My encouragement tonight is that God is cheering us on and wants us to believe in Him – to be faithful in all things and all times. My prayer is that you will accept the challenge to be faithful and worthy of inclusion into the most important Hall of Fame ever. And if you are worried that you don’t have enough faith – or that you can’t get there in your life, then pray for additional faith. Because faith is a gift from God and His Son, Jesus. And if you ask for faith in the name of Jesus, it will be granted to you – God promises us that! Have a great day in the Lord, grace and peace…