“Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.” – Hebrews 12:1-2 (ESV)
This is one of my favorite verses in the Bible and is something that we as young evangelists could do well to remember. It has always struck me that Paul felt he needed to remind us our actions represent something far greater than ourselves.
First, he states that we are surrounded by a great cloud of witnesses, which of course includes all the many heroes of the past; from the old testament writings (see Hebrews 11), to the great George Whitfield, to the late Billy Graham, and so many others. God used these heroes to impact many lives and left a great legacy. A legacy we should uphold with the highest respect. A legacy that demands to be upheld by the Church in our day.
Paul then perfectly brings us back to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith. The cloud of witnesses inspires us, but our principal encouragement is found in the person and work of Christ who is the supreme example of faith. As young evangelists, we have to run the race set before us with our focus being on the prize that is Jesus.
Now when I hear news of hatred, greed, fear, and lust it is hard to even recognize our own nation. It is easy to be discouraged and feel we are losing the race. However, I am challenged by the words of Martin Luther King, Jr.: “It is time for us to develop a kind of dangerous unselfishness.”
As our life is called to represent Jesus, I believe we must develop our capacity for unselfishness to the point of threatening the status quo. To regard others more highly than ourselves in love and action.
I challenge you as young evangelists; let us run the race with this kind of “dangerous unselfishness.”
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