Daniel Foster

Next Gen Pastor

Hebrews 12:1-2

Therefore, since we also have such a large cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us lay aside every hindrance and the sin that so easily ensnares us. Let us run with endurance the race that lies before us, 2 keeping our eyes on Jesus,[a] the pioneer and perfecter[b] of our faith. For the joy that lay before him,[c] he endured the cross, despising the shame,and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.”

Have you ever witnessed something being “surrounded” and had no chance of escape?  Back when I was a kid, I had the privilege to grow up in a house in a rural part of town backed up to woods. We had great fun exploring the woods and walking in the creeks!  In 1994, a tornado came through and knocked over a tree in our yard. (We were all ok!). It took us a while to remove all of that tree. By the time we got to the thickest section, a fire ant mound had been built under the section of wood. By the way, fire ants are no joke!  They bite hard, and are relentless. As we removed the last bit of wood over the ant pile, there was a grub worm right in the center of the ant pile! I’m not sure if he burrowed up from the ground below the ant pile, or came from the bark in the tree, but what I did know was that he was stuck in the middle of a place he didn’t want to be and was surrounded by an army he had no chance against. 

When I read Hebrews 12 earlier this week, I began to picture A) what it looked like and B) what the significance was of being surrounded by a “cloud of witnesses.”  What does it look like? I imagine like that hoard of ants surrounding that grub worm. Imagine all those ants are the community of believers surrounding you, helping, praying, supporting, keeping you accountable, and reminding you of the cross – those hindrances and the sin that would seek to entangle us would have no chance!  Running with endurance the race of the life of a believer becomes possible through community. 

Ben is running cross country this year. He has already been to a practice or two, and has a training regiment he has been following. I ran track back in the day – very different. In track, the gun bangs and you run by yourself. In cross country, a race of endurance and uneven terrain, teams often run together for as long as possible. Why?  We are better together. We spur each other on. We motivate, inspire and encourage each other.  That is how we are meant to live this life as a believer!  Surrounded by other believers who are sources of strength for us, just as we are for them.  

The world has given us many options to entertain ourselves outside of community. It’s easy. It’s comfortable. But it is not how we are supposed to live our Christian lives. We are the BODY of Christ. Manny members, but part of something bigger. Let’s make choices that strengthen the community in our lives, and strengthen the community WE ARE to the people around us.