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COMMENTARY

They're cheering us on

Posted on April 5, 2021

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Donna Crowe

Donna Crowe

As I watched the parents of college basketball players sitting in the stands, cheering for their children, I was reminded of Hebrews 12:1.

It says, “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.”

Because those basketball players knew their parents were watching, they worked harder to be successful.

The Bible, of course, is not talking about basketball. That’s not surprising, considering basketball was not invented until 1891. James Naismith wanted to come up with a safe indoor winter game for his students. So, he nailed two peach baskets to the walls and found a ball. And as the saying goes, the rest is history.

But the Romans did hold races during Paul’s day, so he latched on to that analogy for the Christian life.

Paul’s “cloud of witnesses” was a figurative reference to the faithful men and women who have paved the way for us. In a sense, they surround us like a cloud. We are to act as if they are watching the life of faith that we live. I like to imagine the saints in heaven looking down at us, cheering so we don’t fail into the tricks of the devil.

To run successfully, we need to get rid of anything that keeps us from being good Christians. We need to keep from sinning and to keep our eyes on the future, “the prize,” of Jesus’s return and our entering heaven.

The Bible tells us that “those who endure to the end will be saved” (Matthew 24:13.) It refers to the terrible events we Christians must endure before the end of the world. These events will include wars, false prophets, arrest and death because of our beliefs, and more and more evil.

We must be strong, like a runner who doesn’t give up — or a basketball player who works hard until the end of the game!

Donna Crowe is a minister’s wife.

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