These were all commended for their faith, yet none of them received what had been promised. Hebrews 11:39
When Anita passed away in her sleep on her ninetieth birthday, the quietness of her departure reflected the quietness of her life. A widow, she had been devoted to her children and grandchildren and to being a friend to younger women in the church.
Anita wasn’t particularly remarkable in talent or achievement. But her deep faith in God inspired those who knew her. “When I don’t know what to do about a problem,” a friend of mine said, “I don’t think about the words of a famous preacher or author. I think about what Anita would say.”
Many of us are like Anita—ordinary people living ordinary lives. Our names will never be in the news, and we won’t have monuments built in our honor. But a life lived with faith in Jesus is never ordinary. Some of the people listed in Hebrews 11 were not named (vv. 35–38); they walked the path of obscurity and didn’t receive the reward promised to them in this life (v. 39). Yet, because they obeyed God, their faith wasn’t in vain. God used their lives in ways that went beyond their lack of notoriety (v. 40).
If you feel discouraged about the seeming ordinary state of your life, remember that a life lived by faith in God has an impact throughout eternity. Even if we’re ordinary, we can have an extraordinary faith.
In what area of your daily life might God be calling you to exercise faith in Him? How can He help you be more obedient and faithful in what you do every day?
Faithful God, please help me to trust and obey You always.
Learn how to find your true identity.
Hebrews 11 is referred to as the “Hall of Faith.” Writing to encourage Jewish believers in Jesus to remain faithful in the midst of suffering brought about by severe persecution, the unnamed author lists specific examples of people who’ve lived “by faith” (vv. 4–31). He closes this chapter with an overview of countless unnamed faithful people (vv. 32–38) “commended for their faith” but who haven’t yet “received what had been promised” (v. 39). Hebrews 11 is a reminder that the only way to live and to please God is by faith (v. 6). Those who lived “by faith” chose to live as “foreigners and strangers on earth” (v. 13). They refused to return to the sinful life they’d left behind but longed “for a better country—a heavenly one” (v. 16).