I’m not sure why I never saw it: They didn’t see it.
The promise, that is.
And yet their lives are forever recorded in the Hall of Faith, Hebrews 11. They are listed as the heroes, of whom the world is not worthy, they were meant to inspire us to live likewise. They are examples, “success stories”, so to speak. We are called to emulate their lives.
Humanly speaking, however, their lives aren’t that spectacular. Take Abraham and Sarah, the parents of our faith — they … had a baby. That’s what they did. The promise was that Abraham, through Sarah, would be the father of nations, that his descendants would outnumber the stars in thy, the sand on the seashore. Wow, that’s impressive-sounding.
But all he and Sarah did, during life, was have a baby.
And they didn’t even do an awesome job of that. Right? There were certainly some hiccups along the way. But still they are recorded as heroes of the faith, as an example of fulfilled promise. But what’s interesting is this: Scriptures says,
They greeted the promise from afar.
13 These all died in faith, not having received the things promised, but having seen them and greeted them from afar…
I wonder: Are we willing to greet God’s promises from afar?
That is, Are we willing to attempt something far too great to be finished within our lifetime?
Several years ago, I read a powerful book called Birthing the Miraculous. The author encourages you to spend time in prayer asking God for His specific promise, or dream, for your life. I spent time doing this, and very clearly heard:
Hundreds of churches, thousands of addicts, millions of orphans.
Uh. Whoa. That seemed big. I wrote it down, and began praying over it. I’ve returned to it often in prayer. It certainly aligned with our hearts, from local outward. My passion is to see healthy, gospel-centered churches planted. Not necessarily to see churches get big but to see them reproduce.
My desire is also to see addicts find freedom. Here in America, we don’t necessarily have a poverty of resources — we have clean water, food, shelter. We have impoverished souls that have been ensnared by the evil one and held captive substances and unhealthy behaviors. I long to see souls set free. Last week the kids and I joined some friends in cooking lunch for and serving 60 homeless folks. I looked in their eyes and so deeply desired to know their stories. My hope is to at least be able to help a few, just a little.
And I long to see orphans cared for. Overseas specifically, I long to see children living in absolute poverty to be welcomed, parented, provided for, protected. Through our own sponsorship, fundraisers, by giving through World Vision and Next Generation Ministries, we’re taking tiny steps.
But hundreds, thousands, millions? As I’ve contemplated that dream, I’ve thought: I don’t really see how that’s possible.
Of course not. Neither is bearing so many kids they outnumber the stars in the sky.
I recently read a book about the profound impact we have on society just by raising godly children. The example was given of Jonathan and Sarah Edwards, who raised 12 godly children in the 1700s. By the year 1900–their descendants included:
- 13 college presidents
- 65 professors
- 100 lawyers and a dean of an outstanding law school
- 30 judges
- 60 doctors and a dean of a medical school
- 80 holders of public office including 3 US Senators
- 3 mayors of large cities
- 3 state governors
- A Vice President of the US
- a Controller of the US Treasury
I daresay if God had spoken that to little miss Sarah Edwards one morning while she was scrubbing the floor, she would have been a little wide-eyed as well. Of course she wasn’t going to bear 356 remarkable children who would hold significant positions of influence in this world, but they would be the result of her godly parenting, her faithful devotion, her sacred mundane. 🙂
She wasn’t trying to be spectacular, she was simply being faithful.
She was willing to live for something far too great to be finished within her lifetime.
Oh friends, how I need this! How I need this hope, that the hard choices I make today will reap spiritual benefits, not just for me, but for generations to come. Just this morning I read Galatians 6:8,
… the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life.
Let’s sow to the Spirit. That’s plant seeds that we may never see fully come to fruition, but that will change our world, and change eternity as a result.
A friend from afar, Esther, has HIV. She’s single, and cares for 21 children in her mud-home in Uganda. Her selfless life undoes me. Her motto:
Impart before I depart.
Let’s impart love, truth, Christ into our littles, our loved ones, our neighbors, let’s sow to the Spirit even if we never get to see the full fruition. Let’s live for something far too great to be finished in our lifetime. Let’s greet the promise from afar.
Thanks for reading.