A lot of people have different chapters of the Bible that are their favorite. I would say most people really enjoy the book of Hebrews and specifically chapter eleven. The subject of Faith is an obvious cornerstone in our life as a believer. This chapter in Hebrews brings great definition to faith and adds to it wonderful biblical examples of those who have gone before us who have exemplified great faith. Towards the end of the chapter, the writer of Hebrews seems to save a special section for those who seemed to give it all. Those who in the face of all adversity and dire circumstances laid their life down for Jesus. Many people refer to these as the “Great Heroes of the Faith”. People who in faith, literally gave all for the surpassing knowledge of Christ.
Here is how the text reads picking up in Hebrews 11:35-40.
Women received their dead raised to life again. Others were tortured, not accepting deliverance, that they might obtain a better resurrection.Still others had trial of mockings and scourgings, yes, and of chains and imprisonment.They were stoned, they were sawn in two, were tempted, were slain with the sword. They wandered about in sheepskins and goatskins, being destitute, afflicted, tormented— of whom the world was not worthy. They wandered in deserts and mountains,dens and caves of the earth. And all these, having obtained a good testimony through faith, did not receive the promise,God having provided something better for us, that they should not be made perfect apart from us.
I have met a lot of wonderful believers during my lifetime. People who will have truckloads of crowns to lay at the feet of Jesus when they go to heaven. However, in my 34 years of living, I feel that I have only had one encounter with a person that screamed Hebrews 11.
I was living in China at the time, but I was on a ministry trip to Cambodia and Laos. After spending several days in Cambodia, my ministry partner and I flew into Vientiane, Laos. We found a taxi and he zoomed us off to our hotel. We got to the hotel, got checked in and then started getting situated in our room. Once settled, we were relaxing before our evening dinner and meeting and we hear a knock on the door and someone come in. I look up and somewhat nervously look around the corner to see who it is. In comes a middle-aged, white man who is a little on the skinny side, dressed in very casual jeans and a t-shirt. He yells out my ministry partners name and my friend looks up with an expression of amazement on his face. They greet each other in the middle of the room and I can quickly gather that they go way back.
My friend turns and introduces this new guy to me. I greet him and then I begin to hear the story of how these guys know each other. It turns out that their paths had crossed multiple times in the missions world. My friend had been living and serving Jesus in China for 20+ years. This other man had been in and out of China and Southeast Asia for almost just as long. As they talked about missions and what our visitor is currently doing, I felt the Holy Spirit pressing upon me that this man who just walked into our rooms is one of the Heroes. One of the Hebrews 11 Heroes. He opens his mouth and begins to describe in a very humble way all that he is doing and been through to distribute the bible to literally the darkest places in the world. From interrogation to persecution to staying hidden for weeks and months at a time. He has had passports taken from him, documentation destroyed and the list goes on and on. Yet, he continues to find ways to get Gods word into peoples hands in the most hostile places in China and Southeast Asia.
It was a surreal moment. It was a God moment that marked me for the rest of my life. I knew that I was truly in the presence of a Modern Day Hero on this earth. No one will ever know his name. He will never be on Tv. You will never read one of his books. But, he is exactly who I think of when I read through Hebrews 11. I will never forget him and pray for those that are like him around the world! May they continue to press on towards the ultimate prize!!