Summary: All Saints Day. The faithfulness that we must have as followers of Jesus Christ.
Tomorrow is All Saints Day;
Most of the time when we hear this word we begin to develop an image in our mind like what is found on the cover of the bulletin; an image of an extremely pious man or woman of faith who lived very long ago. This person always seems to have a halo around their head signifying their righteousness and their devotion to God.
Now we in the United Methodist Church don’t have a long historical appreciation for the idea of Sainthood. So we understand this word saint to mean something very different, we get our understanding from the usage in the New Testament that time and again refers the word Saint to those who believe in Jesus Christ and place their faith in him. Thus, Saints are faithful followers.
So today on All Saints Day I ask the question again as last week;
Do we really want the same things that God wants?
Do we really desire the faithfulness that God desires of us?
How often when faced with the question of our own faithfulness, do we begin to measure our selves against the great Heroes of the Bible.
How quickly do we speak the names of: Moses, Abraham, Jacob, Isaac, Samson, David, Gideon, Daniel, Esther, Ruth, Joseph, Mary, John, or Peter?
In our more recent past we can look back and see those faithful people who desired only to be faithful to God and his direction in their lives.
John Wesley, Mother Teresa, Martin Luther, Martin Luther King Jr., Billy Graham. These are some of the Christian heroes of late. And, yet there are so many more Christian Zeros, who go uncounted and un-named, but who’s lives were forever changed because of the man named Jesus and their faithfulness to His calling.
Do we look at our lives compared to theirs and say, “There is no way that I could ever be like that”! I can’t compare to those people, Moses set a nation free, Esther stood before a king to rescue her people, David slew a Giant and loved an enemy, John and Peter we apostles who sat at the feet of Jesus. I can never be like them. God has placed me here in my ordinary life, I am not called to free nations or slay giants.
To that I say, then how much easier is it for us to be faithful with the small things that we are called to do, than the large and very scary things that these Heroes were called to do?
In preparation for this morning I was tempted to use Hebrews 11, the Faith chapter, or the Faith Hall of Fame, but I chose Simeon and Anna because I believe that they speak to us more closely than the Heroes of the Bible. Looking at Hebrews 11 is like going to the Football Hall of Fame, as you walk through you see all of the great players and you read their stories and you can’t help but be amazed, you also know that your chances of being inducted into the Hall of Fame are near zero.
Simeon and Anna, were faithful to God in the very simple and very mundane acts of their lives. We find Zacchaeus climbing a tree, we find a woman simply touching the hem of Jesus’ robe, we find Lois and Eunice (Timothy’s grandmother and mother) faithfully teaching Timothy the things of God.
Each of these saints were called to apparently normal tasks in life, and yet they each answered faithfully. They understood what God wanted them to do and they were faithful to God in doing it, regardless of the circumstances. I imagine they each at some time in their faith journeys looked out of place in their culture. I imagine that their faith journeys were not always easy, or pleasant. I imagine they failed just as you and I do. But they continued on being Faithful to God and what he was calling them to. They blazed the trail for us, they showed us what it is like to be an ordinary person walking with an Extra-ordinary God. They showed us what it means to be faithful to that God in the midst of mediocrity.
And so I wonder again today if we really understand what it means to be faithful to God? I wonder if we truly know what it means to follow in his footsteps and go where he leads us?
I don’t think many of us are called to slay giants, or start a reformation in the church, but what I do know is that we are called to be faithful with the task that God has given us. We tend to measure ourselves against those “great” Saints who have walked this road before us, and we completely ignore the multitude of common Saints who have walked the same paths that we now walk.