Football season is upon us again. In fact, our local paper in Tuscaloosa has reminded us every day for the last year just exactly how many days remain before kickoff...5 days as of today (Monday). In our city, over 101,000 people will attend a football game on Saturday. Of course, that is in addition to all the high school stadiums filled to the brim on Friday night.
These teams will run out onto the field welcomed and encouraged by those of us watching. That must be an overwhelming feeling for a player...to feel the passion and enthusiasm of the crowd. Do football players get goose bumps? It just seems they might with such an experience. We learn in Hebrews that there is a crowd of witnesses watching us too. I interpret the scripture to mean that the crowd of witnesses includes: Abraham, Moses, Rahab, David, and many other faithful. They wait and they watch, encouraging us, welcoming us, cheering for us.
Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud [crowd] 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 12:39-13:1
Did I read that right? We have a great cloud of witnesses just for you and me. A packed stadium encouraging us to run our race. Run the race of finding one person who doesn’t know the name of Jesus. Run the race to find one person who is hurting and needs to see the love of God expressed in his life. Run the race to tell those who have not heard the Good News.
Last semester, a friend and I were having lunch with two Chinese scholars. The Chinese scholars are Christians who are passionate that their classmates learn of Jesus. At the end of lunch and after the discussion of semester plans, Peter spoke. With deep concern and sincerity, Peter looked at us and asked a simple, quiet, stirring question, “Who will tell my people? Who will tell them of Jesus”?