Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us. Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame; and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God. For consider him that endured such contradiction of sinners against himself, lest ye be wearied and faint in your minds. Hebrews 12:1-3
I worked for the North Dakota State Highway Department when I was a young lady. I was hired to work on a section as an equipment-operator. That meant plowing snow, mowing ditches, sealing roads, hauling gravel, and operating loaders and rollers. It was an interesting job and hard at times. There were only two of us working on this particular section, with many miles of roads. Sometimes, we worked with crews from two other nearby sections.
I learned so much from my boss, Harry. He showed me how to change oil, grease zerks, and change windshield wipers. He showed me how to change teeth on a sickle bar mower by chiseling off the rivets, replacing the teeth, and hammering new rivets in. He told me to lift the snow plow when going over railroad tracks, and gave me all kinds of helpful advice to do a good job. Harry was also my neighbor, and was a kind person. He was a great mentor, teacher, and friend. I was fortunate as a young person to have the opportunity to work with Harry.
Being a Christian is like taking a journey. To find our way, we need good directions and information. We get that from people who lived as exemplary Christians in the past– a great cloud of witnesses. When we don’t know what to do, the stories of people in the Bible have a lot of information and instruction, both of what to, and what not to do.
David wrote Psalms that gave comfort. They showed us the attributes of God, and how to talk to God. Daniel showed us what it was like to be taken into captivity, and yet, see and feel the power of an Almighty God. Moses showed us that one man can help deliver a nation with God’s help. Joseph showed us that family members can disown us, but God can use it for His good will to deliver a multitude. I can go on and on with great clouds of witnesses, and what they showed me through their Biblical accounts. It is a comfort to read of what God can do through ordinary people. He can make them extraordinary.
God, You gave us so many mentors, with stories that can help us with day to day difficulties and enormous problems. Thank You that You gave us this historical account so we can gain wisdom and direction to live a righteous life in a dark world. Help us to lay aside every weight and sin that besets us, and run the race with perseverance, using the experiences of others to encourage us. Help us to be fixed on that goal ahead and not to lose hope. Thank You!