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Thinking of God
A group in which we want to be included
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    As with other newspapers, the Statesboro Herald periodically publishes the names of local students who’ve been named to their school’s Honor Roll. Being added to that roll is quite an accomplishment, requiring hard, steady work from people of good character. It’s an achievement for which students and parents alike can rightfully be proud.  A popular bumper sticker tells the world, “My Child is an Honor Student at...” followed by the name of the educational institution. The value of honor rolls is readily seen in the inspirational pride it instills, along with the motivation and positive values it encourages.
    God has an “Honor Roll” as well.  For the same basic reasons, Scripture gives us passages like Hebrews 11, affirming the value of a living faith. This list of God’s faithful servants emphasizes the two-fold nature of faith – belief and trust (notice v. 6) – as the basis upon which all disciples of Christ can live successfully in a hostile world. Like the world in which those people struggled to survive, our world is also aggressively antagonistic toward spiritual values and ways of living. For many reasons, and in countless ways, Satan is attacking those who want to be counted among the faithful in the kingdom of God. Just as some of them died in horrible ways because of their commitment, so Christians today may suffer at the hands of God’s enemies. But Hebrews 12:1-2 lets us know that ultimate victory (which may not be recognized as such by others) can be won if we will “fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith.” (NIV) We need to remember that victory isn’t a matter of our own power, but of being inspired by these faithful “witnesses” and the faithfulness of our Leader.
    It may not have been the Hebrew author’s primary purpose to suggest his readers - then or now - seek membership in this spiritual “Honor Roll.” But neither, it seems to me, is it a violation of Biblical principles to propose that membership is to be coveted.  What greater blessing could we seek than to be part of that group?  There are lots of worthwhile “societies” in which we might seek membership, but none more worthwhile than this.
    A relevant scriptural figure here is the “book of life.”  Used seven times – once each in Psalms and Philippians, and five in Revelation – it refers to the compilation of the names of the righteous, the faithful workers who overcome Satan’s efforts to destroy them.  Their inclusion in the book of life indicates their acceptance by God and entrance into the eternal city of the redeemed.
    Whatever we choose to call it – “Honor Roll,” “Book of Life” or something else – the important thing is that we be found faithful when the Lord comes back for his own. Let me ask you: is your name among those he’ll take with him?
    Larry Sheehy is an elder and pulpit minister at Statesboro Church of Christ. He can be reached at (912) 764-5269.
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