Ben Cooper: Bookends
You are our epistle written in our hearts, known and read by all men; clearly you are an epistle of Christ, ministered by us, written not with ink but by the Spirt of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of flesh, that is, of the heart.~2 Corinthians 3:2-3 NKJV
Have you ever arranged something you thought was complete until the re-occurring flaws forced you to make improvements? I have.
In a cascading chain reaction, the books on my desk toppled over like dominoes. It only took the slightest bump for this to happen again. Tiring of this re-occurring issue, I got a set of metal bookends. Valla! Problem solved! My collection of resource books was stabilized and no longer fell to the floor. As my collection grew, I moved them to a bookshelf.
Over time, I have accumulated nine bookshelves, and I need more. Can you relate? Many of my books are Bible studies and other resources that supplement my study of the Bible. These books remind me of the people who have been influential in strengthening my Christian faith. I have learned so much from these mentors that they have become my living resources, helping to guide me in my faith journey.
Friend, if your life were a book, how would it read?
Hebrews, Chapter Eleven, lists heroes of the faith. Some scholars call this the biblical “Great Hall of Faith.” During a recent time of personal study in this well-known chapter, I discovered something interesting. Biblical people are listed here, and the phrase “by faith” is repeated. Included are well-known Bible characters such as Abel, Enoch, Noah, Abraham, and Sarah. But have you noticed that verse three includes us?
“By faith we . . .”
We are included at the beginning of that list. But that’s not all. We are included at the close of the chapter.
And all of these, though they gained [divine] approval through their faith, did not receive [the fulfillment of] what was promised, because God had us in mind and had something better for us, so that they [these men and women of authentic faith] would not be made perfect [that is, completed in Him] apart from us.
Do you see what that verse says? God had us in mind when He inspired this chapter to be written, and we are included in those heroes of the faith from the Old Testament. God’s plan included us as the bookends to complete His bookshelf of saints. Isn’t it amazing that we are part of the great chapter of faith? But the bigger question is, are we holding our place on God’s bookshelf? Are we living our lives as resources like the many books on my shelves are? Since we are listed as the bookends in the Great Hall of Faith chapter, we should live exemplary lives.
Compare a favorite Bible character from the Great Hall of Faith with a modern-day hero who also inspires you.
Heavenly Father, thank You for including me in Hebrews, Chapter Eleven. Help me to be like bookends, maintaining my place in Your collection of faithful believers. As people read how I live out my faith, may they find me focusing my eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith.
In Jesus’ name. Amen.
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