Summary: The writer of the letter to the Hebrews compares our faith walk to a race that is to be run with perseverance. This not one of those races you may have run at an elementary school field day, You know the ones where everyone got a medal even if they ran th
Enduring for the Gold
Hebrews 12: 1-3
12:1 Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. 2 Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame and sat down at the right hand of the thrown of God. 3 Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.
The other day our ten year old dryer stopped working. We had been planning to replace both the washer and dryer for some time now we could not put it off any longer. So my wife and I went to Sears picked out a reasonable washer and dryer paid for them and arranged for delivery. A few days later they arrived. The delivery man brought them in and carted off the old ones.
I quickly set my self to the task of doing the laundry only to discover that the new washer did not work. The washer needed longer hoses because the factory issued hoses didn’t reach so I went to the hardware store, picked new hoses and connected the washer. My adventure however wasn’t over you see the brand new dryer I purchased did not have a plug. Dryers I’ve learned seldom come with plugs those need to be installed separately. It is at this point in a home improvement task when I usually give up and take a nap. Unfortunately it had now been several days since we had done laundry and giving up was not an option, so I called Mark (the local handyman) and soon our laundry was well on its way. When a task is difficult or frustrating it is easy to give in and go do something else.
The writer of the letter to the Hebrews compares our faith walk to a race that is to be run with perseverance. This not one of those races you may have run at an elementary school field day, You know the ones where everyone got a medal even if they ran the wrong way. The race marked out for us is a course that is full of adversity. But it is a race that can be won.
This short passage gives is really a “race runners clinic” if we listen carefully we can learn how to run with endurance and not grow weary.
Point 1 Cloud of witnesses (We do not run this race alone)
12:1 Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses,
Brenner: “Look at that mirror and tell what you see”.
Junior: “I see Junior”
Brenner “NO, Look at that Mirror and Tell me what you see”
Junior: “I see Junior”
Brenner: “ You want to know what I see, I see power, I see Pride, I see someone who won’t take notting from nobody. Now tell me what you see”
Junior: “I see power, I see pride I see someone who won’t take notting from nobody”
Brenner: “Say it again”
Junior: “ Power Pride”…
This scene from the movie “cool runnings” about the first Jamacian bobsled team. Junior is able to reach within himself and find the motivation he needs to press on, at a time when he is ready to give up and go home. He finds this motivation through one of his teammates who spurs him forward. Later in the movie and in the real Olympics this team is able to make it to the finals partly due to the amazing international fan support it received.
Hebrews paints for us a vivid picture of our fan support. We are surrounded by a “cloud of witnesses”. People who have run the race or a least this particular leg of the race are all around us cheering for us encouraging us offering us counsel.
Unlike my laundry incident if the race gets difficult you cannot call someone to run it for you. You have to do the running yourself. But, that doesn’t mean you have to be alone. These witnesses exert a strong positive influence on the runners (New Interpreters, 148)Just like when any sport team plays at home they have an advantage because their cheering fans encourage them to do better the cloud of witnesses serve to encourage the runner.
The word ‘since’ gives our running purpose. This cloud of witnesses give our race meaning. We aren’t just running we are in a race and we have spectators, witness of this event. Because these witneses are here we have a reason to run.
Point 2 Get in Shape,
1b let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles