October 01, 2008

Cloud of Witnesses

Hebrews 12:1-13

Surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses … let us run with perseverance …
Hebrews 12:1


The Chinese teacher and philosopher Confucius said, “If we walk alongside three people, one of them will teach us something.” In other words, we will always learn from other people’s experiences. Maybe you are more familiar with the words of Winston Churchill, Britain’s prime minister during World War II: “Those that fail to learn from history are doomed to repeat it.”

In our reading for today, the author of Hebrews refers to a “great cloud of witnesses”—the many heroes of faith recorded in Hebrews 11. In that chapter the author writes, “I do not have time to tell about … [various people] commended for their faith” (11:32, 39), because there are so many of them. For us living almost two thousand years after those people, there are even more examples to learn from, including early church martyrs, missionaries who gave up their lives to spread the gospel, and other believers throughout the centuries who stood firm in their faith despite persecution.

But I think God speaks to us also through other believers today—or even people who may not be believers. This month I want to share some things that I have learned from interacting with and meeting, reading, or hearing about all kinds of people. So please join me in this adventure, and I pray that God will also speak to you through these reflections.

Our Lord and God, speak to us, we pray, and open our hearts to listen. Help us to share with one another what we have learned from you each day. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

About the author — Jimmy Tai-On Lin

Rev. Jimmy Lin is the Chinese ministry leader of The Back to God Hour. With his staff in Palos Heights and Hong Kong, Rev. Lin has ministered to over 1.3 billion Chinese-speaking people around the world for 16 years through radio, literature, CD/DVD, Internet, and text message. His wife, Doris, is one of the translators of Today into the Chinese language, which now has a circulation of more than 45,000 copies.

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