So, what do these people have in common? Abel, Enoch, Noah, Abraham, Sarah, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, Moses, Rahab, Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, David, and Samuel. Maybe you recognized that these are all names from the Bible, which is a good start. You may also have figured out that they are all from our Old Testament -- which is true! However, all of these names are also mentioned in our New Testament, in the book of Hebrews. The writer of Hebrews lists all of these names in the eleventh chapter. But before listing each of these names and telling a little about what they did, the author of Hebrews uses two simple but profound words to describe each one of these individuals: "By faith . . ." For example, when it talks about Abraham it says, "By faith Abraham, when called to go to a place he would later receive as his inheritance, obeyed and went, even though he did not know where he was going." (Hebrews 11:8, NIV)
Again and again, the book of Hebrews talks about these individuals who acted "by faith." The heading for this eleventh chapter of Hebrews calls this section "Faith in Action." The amazing thing is that these examples of faith in action are not perfect - in fact, they are far from it. Noah did embarrassing things. Abraham lied about Sarah being his wife because he was afraid. Moses committed murder. Rahab was a prostitute. David had the husband of Bathsheba killed in battle because he wanted her for himself. Not a perfect crew by far!
And yet . . . God chooses these imperfect persons to live "by faith." And in the end, they each act in ways that God blesses. They persevere in hope, trusting that God will see them through - even if they themselves do not see the final outcomes of their efforts in their lifetimes here on earth.
I find great hope in knowing we don't have to be perfect to be used by God - we simply have to be willing to act in faith. As we enter Stewardship season, may God help us show our "faith in action" by sharing our time, talents, and treasure to do God's work here and now!