How would you feel if one day you were nominated for a prestigious hall of fame? You pick – which one would it be? Just imagine being selected to the hall of your choice.
Annually, stellar athletes are selected for their respective halls of fame: college and pro football, baseball, basketball, hockey, even NASCAR. In the entertainment world there’s the Country Music Hall of Fame, the Rock ‘n Roll Hall of Fame, the Hollywood Walk of Fame and others. There’s even a National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum.
Many colleges have created halls of fame to honor distinguished athletes, students and alumni, and some high schools do the same. I was a hall monitor once at my elementary school – does that count? I’m guessing somewhere there’s a grocery clerks’ hall of fame. “There was never anyone that could stock shelves or sack groceries like ole Jimmy!”
Think about being accomplished enough, famous enough in some area of expertise, to be inducted in a hall of fame of some sort. Maybe music is your passion. Wouldn’t it be cool to be honored for playing your instrument of choice? Or perhaps you’re an educator – what if you were selected to a national teachers’ hall of fame?
Most of us, of course, will never receive hall of fame recognition signifying we’re among the “who’s who” of a certain profession or endeavor. Long ago I realized how could I possibly dream of getting into a “Who’s Who” when I’m so firmly entrenched in “who’s he?” But there is one “hall of fame” that’s open to all of us.
In the Bible, Hebrews 11 presents an interesting roster of men and women singled out for God’s hall of fame. Some people prefer the term, “hall of faith.” There are the biblical superstars, like Noah, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob (later renamed Israel), Moses, Samson and David. But there are other less-celebrated “inductees,” like Abel, Enoch – “taken from this life, so that he did not experience death” (Hebrews 11:5) – Jephthah, Barak (not Obama), Samuel and other prophets.
One of the surprise entries is the lone woman cited by name, Rahab, a prostitute! She trustingly assisted the Israelite spies as they inspected the doomed city of Jericho. If Rahab could make this “hall,” there’s hope for the rest of us.
Many others are referred to, although not listed by name. What it does tell about them is a unified tale of unwavering faith. “”Others were tortured and refused to be released, so that they might gain a better resurrection. Some faced jeers and flogging, while still others were chained and put into prison. They were stoned; they were sawed in two; they were put to death by the sword…the world was not worthy of them” (Hebrews 11:35-38). That’s not a job description I’d be excited about!
But the passage also makes clear they weren’t singled out for their heroics, but for one common quality: “These were all commended for their faith” (Hebrews 11:39).
Whether confronted with violent persecution for being followers of Christ, as is the case in some parts of the world, including the Middle East, Africa and China, or simply striving to pursue the life Jesus calls us to on an everyday basis, we’re all candidates for God’s hall of fame.
As Jesus promised, the “induction ceremony” will include the words, “Well done, good and faithful servant!” (Matthew 25:21-23). That will definitely be one ceremony worth attending.
Robert J. Tamasy is a veteran journalist, a former newspaper editor and magazine editor. He is presently vice president of communications for Leaders Legacy, Inc., a non-profit focused on mentoring and coaching business and professional leaders. Bob has written hundreds of magazine articles, and has authored, co-authored and edited more than 15 books. These include “Tufting Legacies,” “The Heart of Mentoring,” “Business at Its Best,” and “Pursuing Life With a Shepherd’s Heart.” He edits a weekly business meditation, “Monday Manna,” which is translated into more than 20 languages and distributed via email around the world by CBMC International. He also posts regularly on two blogs, www.bobtamasy.blogspot.com, and www.bobtamasy.wordpress.com. He can be emailed at firstname.lastname@example.org.