Do you take time to think thankfully about those who have gone before you? What does your hall of faith look like?
What is a Hall of Faith?
In sports, we honor the best athletes by selecting them into various Halls of Fame. While there’s no such thing as a Hall of Faith, we often refer to Hebrews 11 by that title.
Why? Because the author of Hebrews tells the stories of many saints who paved the way for Jesus and who inspire our faith.
You can rightfully stand on the shoulders of all the saints listed in Hebrews 11. Abel modeled the perfect sacrifice. Enoch walked with God. Noah obeyed God while everyone laughed at him. Abraham left home and believed God would give him a family. The stories go on and all they all prepare the way for Jesus and the faith we gain through him.
Without these men and women, we wouldn’t know what faith looks like. It’s easy for us to read and hear these stories and feel disconnected because it was so long ago, in a different era and culture, and we believe they were somehow more holy than we are. The truth is they were just as human.
Research shows great benefits from taking the time to be purposefully thankful. The rewards are especially significant as we remember those who went before us.
Your Hall of Faith
God knows that we can’t just read or hear these stories, we need to see faith modeled in our lives. There is power in reading modern biographies of men and women who exhibited faith. We also benefit from many people who invested in us like our mentors, family, and all those who led us to our day of salvation.
Here’s a brief example of my Hall of Faith:
- My great grandfather came to America as a missionary, laying a foundation of faith for my family.
- My parents and grandparents insisted I attend church and even changed churches so I could hear the Gospel.
- Frank Kik faithfully preached the Gospel every time he served communion and I heard the message for the first time when I was 12 years old.
- The youth ministry at my church taught me to love Jesus and walked with me through the challenges of adolescence and invested in my growth as a leader.
- Joe White at Kanakuk Sports Kamps showed me how to integrate faith into athletics and life.
- Several professors at Wheaton College taught me to think for myself about issues of faith, including Wayne Martindale, Bob Stickney, and Howard Whitaker.
- Doug Pratt taught me to appreciate my gifts. Dan Allender awoke in me the desire to integrate my passions into my work. Bill Hendricks affirmed my uniqueness. Steve Brown prayed for me and taught me the importance of faithfulness.
- Friends like John, Dave, Mark, Paul, Erik, Jeff, and many others have stood with me through the highs and lows of life teaching me to believe in the power of prayer.
My list could go on, but hopefully, you get the idea. Every person in my life has helped me to grow and gives me a reason to be grateful.
What prevents us from being thankful?
Thankfulness doesn’t just happen. It requires discipline and choice. You could say it like this:
“Those who thank little have little to be thankful for.”Phil Mershon
Now that’s not a hundred percent accurate, but it matches the research of Dr. Robert Emmons, professor at UC Davis and a leading researcher on gratitude. He says there are four dimensions of gratitude: frequency, intensity, span, and density. These describe how frequently we express gratitude, how deeply we feel thankful, the number of things for which we’re grateful, and to how many people we show gratitude. In general, the greater the frequency, intensity, span, and density, the higher the gratitude quotient in our lives.
But we know as Christians that it’s not merely a matter of discipline and choices. We fight a spiritual battle that seeks to prevent our growth. We need to not only make daily choices to be thankful and grow in faith, but we must also combat all those things which seek to undermine our faith. The Holy Spirit is our number one ally, counselor, and guide. I’m so thankful Jesus prays for me.
CHALLENGE: Create your hall of faith
What does your Hall of Faith look like? I challenge you to create your own version in order to inspire your gratefulness.
How: Read through the “Hall of Faith” in Hebrews 11. Using this as a model, create your own Hall of Faith.
- Who are the key players? What did they teach you?
- What are the key events in your faith journey?
- How are you thankful for each person and event?
- What are your stories of faith (we discussed this on Day 8)?
Write down your Hall of Faith in a way you can share with your family and/or friends. Perhaps create a picture, a song, or a poem?
Lord, I thank you for the gift of faith and salvation. I’m so grateful for all the people you placed in my life who taught me about you, demonstrated faith, and believed in me. I pray you will bless each one of them and help me to model faith for my family, my friends, and the world who watches me. I pray in Jesus’ name. Amen.