Sunday, November 1, 2009

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!


  1. These are lovely thoughts. Thanks D'Ann! You know, sometimes it's hard for me to examine the things that hinder me, even though I know it's a good thing for me to look a little deeper inward. And when I do find those things that hinder me, sometimes it's hard to let go and make the changes. It shouldn't be hard though, to get rid of the things that separate us from God. But just is.

  2. Thanks, D'Ann! I love All Saints' Day. Just got back from church; what a celebration. We sang "For All the Saints" and "Ye Watchers and Ye Holy Ones." I enjoy the celebration, but I also find it astonishing and humbling that God has allowed my life to be woven into the body of Christ with the saints (famous and not-so-famous) who've served Him faithfully (Eph 1:1). God is so good.

    I love your statement that we can look to those who've gone before "as a mirror for the state of our hearts." I'm going to practice that today. Lovely post.

  3. Hi D'Ann,
    This was a special post for me this weekend. Thanks for the thoughts. Yesterday we attended the funeral of a dear man who was 85 years old and father of one of my best friends.

    When my daughter Meghan (now 17) was born and I had to go back to work, Jack and Mary, took care of my baby for the first year of her life. It was hard going back to work, but knowing that Jack and Mary were caring for Meghan made life so much easier.

    Jack was a humble man who loved his family and welcomed my family into his. It's hard to sit in a church and grieve for one gone from us. Loss is always hard. Jack led a life full of meaning in all the little things he did, which in the end were very big things to all who knew him. A faithful servant indeed.

  4. There are so many of my family that has gone on before, I am the baby, and I have lost my Dad and Mom, 5 sisters and 2 brothers. There were 10 of us kids and now 3 are left. Just lost a brother 2 weeks ago. But God has let me keep my husband of 48 years, my 4 childrens and all my grandkids and my g-grands. So he has really blessed me even though I miss my parents and sibling.

    May God bless all


  5. What a beautiful post. Thanks D'Ann.

    karen k

  6. Your journey is encouraging faith in others right now. You won't have to wait until you are in that great cloud of witnesses to see the fruit of your life in others, dear friend.

    Love to you always,


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