Have you ever called someone ancient?
“Honey, I’d like you to meet my parents. This is my dad. And here’s my mom. She’s ancient.”
I do not recommend this.
We have words to describe the old. Some are nice: experienced, seasoned veteran, senior. And then there are other words: wrinkled, creaky, antiquely-archaic curmudgeon asleep in the back pew. You get it.
Because of the way things age, we often look down on what is old. Not so in scripture. The writer of Hebrews knew that the old are not only to be remembered but also commended.
“Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see. This is what the ancients were commended for.” (Hebrews 11:1-2)
Who are those “ancients”? They are those who came before us to live, by faith, into God’s work. The rest of the chapter lists these “ancients”: Noah, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Moses, Rahab and many more.
Today is All Saints Day. As a Protestant pastor, I’m not as focused on the “ancient” saints of old. But I am thinking about the people who have come alongside me in various ways and helped shape my understanding of faith. They’re my saints, and I am forever grateful for them.
You may have a few saints who have helped you through a season of your life – perhaps a relative, friend, teacher, coach or pastor. Anyone who has lived out a faithful example of following Christ and pointed you in that same direction is worth honoring and remembering on this day.
And moving forward, it’s your turn. Don’t stop at remembering your loved ones. Carry on their legacy by becoming an “ancient” yourself. It’s not about being old. It’s about living by faith and encouraging others to do the same.
“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.” (Hebrews 12:1-2a)
Billy Byler is the lead pastor at the First Church of the Nazarene in Winfield.