“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.” — Hebrews 12:1-3
When you go about your everyday activities, do you ever get the feeling you’re being watched?
Maybe you should.
The writer of Hebrews reminds us that every Christ-follower has an audience, a “great cloud of witnesses.” In fact, we are surrounded by this great cloud of witnesses. We cannot move without bumping into one.
Who is in your cloud of witnesses? In the context of Hebrews 12, it is the men and women of faith who are described in chapter 11. Our cloud includes Abraham and Noah, as well as the unnamed people of faith who gave up their lives to further the cause of Christ.
Who else is in your cloud? For me, it is includes a little girl who lived in Southwest Missouri in the early 1900’s who invited my grandmother to church. That simple invitation has rippled through hundreds of lives. I do not know her name but she is in my cloud.
Alongside her are ladies of faith such as Sarah Mayes, Nancy Talley, Eleanor Richey, and many others who served as my Sunday school teachers. God bless these ladies for their faithfulness … and their patience!
Somewhere in the crowd are the men who taught me through junior and senior high: Jeff Glover, Steve Breeden, and George Witt.
There are preachers in my cloud of witnesses. Richard Rogers held a week-long conference at my home church when I was in junior high. That experience first made me think, “I could do that.” Charles White, Ron Bamberg, Brad Carmen, Chuck Dorsey — these men modeled ministry for me. Any sermon mistakes I’ve made are solely my own fault.
Writers, professors, friends. My cloud of witnesses is a diverse, eccentric group of people. Some have been dead for a few years or a few centuries. Others are still very much alive. The more I live aware of my “great cloud of witnesses,” the more intentional I find myself being.
Who is your great cloud of witnesses?