"Faith is our attitude and approach towards God; Hope is our attitude and approach towards the future; Love is our attitude and approach towards others." So began a radio sermon I heard this morning, the first of a three-part series. After giving me plenty to think about, the preacher continued by examining Hebrews 11-the "faith chapter" of the Bible. This designation he dismissed as somewhat misleading, drawing attention to the fact that the chapter is sandwiched between words about perseverance. Faith is not the intellectual exercise we often make it out to be. It's not the emotional experience we often want it to be. Faith is that holding on no matter what.
The common denominator in the stories of the heroes of faith in Hebrews 11 is men and women who persevered over the long haul. Abraham made plenty of mistakes along the way, but kept on keeping on. It was a good word for me. I was driving to Rochester to see my mom, a nearly two-hour ride, giving me plenty of time to think and reflect. When that happens, my mind often drifts to the many ways in which I fall short. Hearing again the story of Abraham who persevered in spite of his shortcomings was an especially welcome encouragement this morning.
My faith is in God who in Christ dealt once for all with my sins and shortcomings, nailing them to the cross. My hope is in the future to which he now calls me in spite of my past. Loving others is the link between what God did in the past in Christ and what he will yet do when Jesus inaugurates the Kingdom of God. I am grateful tonight for this morning's sermon and how the preacher patiently and deliberately worked through the text to minister grace to this hearer of the Word.