Remembering Those Who Have Gone Before Us
When I realized my devotional day fell on All Saints’ Day, I decided to look up a bit of church history. Turns out this day began much like Veterans’ Day or Memorial Day—a day of remembering those saints that have gone to glory ahead of us.
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. (Hebrews 12: 1)
In considering those who have gone before us—whether people we personally knew or people we only know of or ones we don’t know at all!—we are encouraged to live our lives for His glory and renown. Their examples bolster our courage and strengthen our faith, for as the Lord worked in their lives, He is working in our lives. No matter how long past, these saints remind us of the Lord’s faithfulness in even the most difficult of circumstances. And hopefully the remembrance of those who blazed trails of faith spurs us to scorn our sin and seek holiness.
Besides the more “famous” saints of old—like those delineated in Hebrews 11—I’m thinking today of other, less public lives. Lives that impacted those around them. Both of my grandmothers exemplified lives well lived for Christ. They were completely different in personality, but both loved the Lord and lived out that love in daily action. Both impacted several generations with their faith. I want my children and grandchildren and great-grandchildren to remember me the way I remember them. So how do I make that happen? What is holding me back from peace? From holiness? From gentleness? From love? What is tripping me up on my race to hear the King of Kings say, “Well done, good and faithful servant?”
Hm. Kind of sounds like New Year’s resolution time, doesn’t it? Maybe Nov. 1, All Saints’ Day, is the more appropriate time to ponder the state and direction of our lives, using those children of the Lord who have gone before us as a mirror for the state of our hearts. Is this the day we will resolve to make changes that will “throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles”? When our races come to an end, will our journeys be ones that encourage faith in someone else? I hope mine does!