There are two, specific categories of faithful Christians mentioned in the closing verses in our study chapter, Hebrews Eleven. To be more exact, they are actually the descriptions of two possible “tracks” someone’s life may take – the road of success or the way of suffering.
The great evangelist Billy Graham preached to millions of people around the globe and led millions to a faith in Jesus Christ. Following his passing, he rightly deserved the world’s outpouring of love and acclamation. Do you think he will receive grand, manifold, and plenteous rewards in heaven because of his accomplishments on earth?
All of our works will ultimately be judged based upon one standard…faith. According to the Scriptures (I Corinthians 3 and elsewhere), every one of our works (deeds) on earth will be “tried in the fire.” Those that are based upon faith (trust) in God will endure the searing heat. We will be rewarded for these. Those works that are not based upon faith in God will be burnt to ashes, meaning they have been determined to possess no value in God’s Kingdom.
Billy Graham, like us, will be judged based upon faith in God through Christ Jesus. He will be rewarded, not necessarily because of the works themselves, but because those good works were based upon faith…because he fulfilled God’s calling on his life through faith.
God moved mightily in Rev. Graham in order to touch millions of souls for His Kingdom. We are all called, in some way or another, to reach people for Christ. Billy Graham’s faith in God’s calling determined the course of his entire life. This is faith. Billy Graham’s ministry would certainly be characterized as enormously successful.
PATH OF SUCCESS
There are lots of folks who have travelled a path of apparent “success,” at least through the eyes of the world. They founded a company or were otherwise successful in business. Others recorded hit records. There were those who were notable for their political prowess.
Athletes have kissed the MVP or championship trophy and raised it high to a thunderous ovation. A few scientists have been blessed to discover the cure for a disease. A handful of chemists have gained notoriety for concocting a new serum to protect people from disease.
Many of those (not all) who walked the path of success were able to accomplish their feats due to extraordinary health, supportive relationships, loving families, inherited wealth, high I.Q.’s, an intrinsic talent or skill, a charismatic personality, or other such advantages.
My Aunt Dorothy was a lovely woman. I played with her son (my cousin) Scott, who was close to my age, every chance I got. As far back as I can remember though, Dorothy battled the dreadful disease of diabetes, even at a very young age. Therefore, as far back as I can remember she always struggled with her health.
The basic, everyday task of walking became increasingly challenging. Later on in her life, surgeons were forced to amputate her feet, and she was eventually confined to a wheelchair. Furthermore, as far back as I can remember, she was legally blind. She always wore these oddly shaped, dark, prescription glasses. She only had the ability to see shadows and such.
PATH OF SUFFERING
Dorothy’s life might be characterized overall by many in the world as a path of suffering. Many others endure the agony of the same rocky road whether it be physical, mental, or emotional anguish. Some have lost numerous loved ones, including children and spouses. Others suffer from the cruel torment of depression or anxiety disorders. A number of people, or their loved ones, have struggled throughout their lives with various addictions.
Furthermore, a number of people have battled the brutal enemy of cancer, some more than once. Many have been abused or abandoned. Several are frozen in fear. Others continue to suffer from the effects of being raised in broken homes. Numerous people have suddenly found themselves reeling from the despair of divorce. More than we know suffer from PTSD. Millions of children endure constant malnutrition throughout our world. These and others have been forced to travel the path of suffering.