“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.” – Hebrews 12:1
“I have been reminded of your sincere faith, which first lived in your grandmother Lois and in your mother Eunice and, I am persuaded, now lives in you also. For this reason I remind you to fan into flame the gift God, which is in you through the laying on of my hands.” – 2 Timothy 1:5-6
This week our family mourns the loss of Kristi’s grandfather Tom Bell. I want to thank you for your prayers and kind words during this difficult time for our family and Kristi’s family back in Colorado. Grandpa, as he was known to Kristi, or G-Pa, as he was known to Ava and Kenzie, was a great man of the faith. He was someone who honored God above everything else in this world. He was a great family man as well; he and his wife celebrated 67 years of marriage just before his passing. He raised Kristi’s father and aunt in a Godly home, and they accepted Christ at a young age. Kristi then was raised by her father in a Godly home, and she also accepted faith at a young age. Kristi had and continues to have a “great cloud of witnesses” in her life. Generations that go back even beyond her Grandpa that kept God first in the family. Our daughters Ava and Kenzie now have that same great cloud of witnesses from not only Kristi’s family but my family as well. Ava and Kenzie know their Lord and Savior because of the teaching of Scripture that has gone on witness by witness.
Maybe you are like Kristi and me, and you have generations going far back that accepted Christ as their Savior. Maybe you are the person in your family that is starting a new cloud of witnesses for the generations that come after you. Wherever you find yourself the mission is clear: to be the example of faith to those around you.
The author of Hebrews reminds the believers of the great heroes of the faith in the previous chapter. He reminds them of those who have gone before them and how they can help them today in their walks with God. We see what God has done and it gives us hope for the future. Paul in Second Timothy reminds Timothy of the cloud of witnesses in his life which brought him to faith in Christ. It is a reminder for Timothy to continue to remember and use the gifts he has been given by God.
As a family we mourn the loss of physical life here on earth, but we rejoice in the eternal life that Grandpa Bell has in Christ Jesus and the witness for Christ that he provided for his family. We are blessed to have him in our cloud of witnesses.