All these people were still living by faith when they died. They did not receive the things promised; they … were foreigners and strangers on earth.
I remarked recently to a friend that I realized my life could already be half (or more) over. He responded by saying he recently did a spiritual exercise with others in his church to help them focus on the top priorities in life. They decided to take time to write their own obituaries. They reasoned that if we thought about how others would remember us after we die, we could concentrate on the best priorities in life before we die.
I don’t know if I am ready to write my own obituary, but I know that the exercise can be revealing. What do I want the top priorities in my life to be?
Today’s verse from Hebrews is a kind of obituary. The writer says that these people “were still living by faith when they died,” meaning that they remained faithful to God and trusted in all his promises—even though the promises had not been fulfilled by the time they died. Their journey of faith in this life continued into the next, even though they did not yet see the full reality of what they believed in.
Can we say this about ourselves? God is the one who gives faith. So in his strength it really is possible to live by faith even while we are dying—and to trust that when we die, we will go on living in God’s presence.
Lord, I confess that in “body and soul, in life and in death,” I am “not my own, but belong” to you. Not even a hair can fall from my head without your will. What a comfort! Amen.
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