What eulogy would people share about us at our wake? Will they commend us as a person who has lived life to the fullest for God and a life worth emulating? Yet this is precisely what the author of Hebrews reminded his hearers regarding their forefathers’ example in Hebrews 11:1-7.
In this short passage the phrase “obtained a good report” appeared several times with variations in verses 2, 4, and 5. This good report is in fact God’s commendation. It is as if God is saying to them, “Well done, thou good and faithful servant … enter thou into the joy of thy lord.” (Matt. 25:21).
This brings me to the question for each one of us to ponder seriously. What legacy would we leave behind for our children and our children’s children to follow? How can we live a life that pleases God and receives His approval and commendation?
The key is found in the three examples of faith i.e. Abel, Enoch and Noah. All three lived lives that were pleasing to God. Each one demonstrated in his own unique way what it means by the phrase, “The just (righteous) shall live by faith” (Heb. 10:38 / Hab. 2:4).
Abel showed that the righteous will conduct his or her life by faith even in the face of suffering or death. “And through his faith, though he died, he still speaks.” (Heb. 11:4)
Enoch proved that the righteous will overcome death by faith. “By faith Enoch was taken up so that he should not see death, and he was not found, because God had taken him.” (Heb. 11:5).
Noah demonstrated that the righteous does not have to fear the final Judgment by faith. “By this he condemned the world and became an heir of the righteousness that comes by faith” (Heb. 11:7).
From the beginning to the end a life of obedience in trust of God’s promises and dependence on his power is the real secret to pleasing God.
Let us then emulate the faith of the ancient faithful, be inspired by their perseverance and focus on the ultimate example of endurance and the One sufficient to enable us to reach the goal of our pilgrimage and cross the finish line of our race (Heb.12:1-3). In this way, we will leave behind a legacy of faith for the future generation to emulate.
“Let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith” (Heb.12:1, 2)
Rev. Mark Tay