I've always found Hebrews 11 a curious chapter in the New Testament.
It's the section in the Bible called “the faith chapter”.
The author of Hebrews talks about all these different people in the Old Testament who lived stupendous lives, experienced tremendous acts of faith, and were something of the outstanding people held up for us all to emulate.
Over the span of my life, I've heard lots of sermons referencing the people of great faith in this chapter.
I've never heard a sermon on these verses at the end of the passage...
35b But others were tortured, refusing to turn from God in order to be set free.
They placed their hope in a better life after the resurrection.
36 Some were jeered at,
and their backs were cut open with whips.
Others were chained in prisons.
37 Some died by stoning,
some were sawed in half,
and others were killed with the sword.
Some went about wearing skins of sheep and goats,
38 They were too good for this world,
wandering over deserts and mountains,
hiding in caves and holes in the ground.
Over the millenia, millions & millions of people have lived lives of faith,
but their lives never made the “top 20” of the Bible, or any other publication.
They simply lived their lives & went about following God in the truth they knew.
Maybe we should also celebrate the incredible lives of faith of people all around us,
lives that are often misunderstood,
or just thought to be plum crazy.
All of us are called to take steps of faith, & are recognized for it.
The overwhelming majority don't.
Let's look around this week for people in our lives who live lives of simple, dynamic faith in ways no one ever sees.