If you know anything about small-town Texas autumn, we love our festivals. Young and old scurry around in preparation of carnivals, parades, and the celebration of some local crop or landmark. I remember growing up and perching on the side of the main street, eagerly anticipating the school bands, bikers, and beautiful horses prancing their way down the promenade. When I grew a bit older and got to ride a float with the local football team, I remember the spectacle of waving to friends and family, fans and festival-goers. We gather and mimic what I imagine is the celebrations of saints when the faithful make their way down life’s journey.
Hebrews chapter 12 follows the famous “Heroes of Faith” chapter in the Bible. One by one, Paul the Apostle details the accolades as he parades the forefathers of our faith. We draw comfort from their lives, and relish the challenge to live up to their legacy. He encourages us in the first verse of the next chapter, “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…” (NIV) These legendary believers are now the ones on the sidelines as we navigate the path that God has ordained for us. That thought blows me away. The people that I grew up reading about are now cheering me on. We are the harvest, and soon we will be the ones cheering.
I’m a bit older than I was when I suited up for the team, so no more parade floats for me. When I consider where I am in life, my status as a Chi Alpha alumnus isn’t much different. I had a blast in my college years doing campus ministry, retreats, and mission trips. Now it is my turn to cheer those on the team. I have been blessed with a fulfilling career, a loving church family, and a community where I feel I am making an impact. This month I want to focus on the aspect of giving back: as alumni, we focus on Connecting, Praying, and Giving. Each year I support the local festivals by purchasing curios, concessions, and the occasional colossal turkey leg. I’d like to encourage you in this season to consider a special gift to your local Chi Alpha chapter. We may not be the ones in the parade, but we are witnesses to what God has done in our lives through this incredible ministry. We are now a cloud of witnesses to what I believe is the next great student awakening!
Christ encouraged his followers to examine the souls yet to be reached by using a metaphor of harvest. “Look, I say to you, raise your eyes and look at the fields and see, they are white for harvest.” John 4:35 (AMP) He also lamented that although the harvest is plentiful the workers are few, in Luke 10:2. All across the country, campus pastors are laboring to reach the next generation of witnesses. Let’s work together to support the incoming harvest, and anticipate our cloud of faithful witnesses growing larger each and every year!
Be Blessed and Encouraged.