Verse: Hebrews 10:32-35 (ESV)
32 But recall the former days when, after you were enlightened, you endured a hard struggle with sufferings,
33 sometimes being publicly exposed to reproach and affliction, and sometimes being partners with those so treated.
34 For you had compassion on those in prison, and you joyfully accepted the plundering of your property, since you knew that you yourselves had a better possession and an abiding one.
35 Therefore do not throw away your confidence, which has a great reward.

Show of hands, who has had something stolen from them, and reacted by celebrating? I’ll wait.

Odds are, most of us have probably never experienced the “plundering of our property” or “being publicly exposed to reproach”. But for first century Jewish converts to Christianity (to whom the letter we know as the book of Hebrews was written), this would have been all too familiar. The choice they made to follow Jesus would’ve meant turning their backs on thousands of years of their own faith tradition, often breaking ties with friends, neighbors, even family. They endured ridicule, theft, and even physical abuse, up to and including death. Remember what Saul (Paul) was doing before his conversion on the road to Damascus?

The book of Hebrews is largely intended to be an encouragement to these early Christians; a reminder that what they were experiencing was worth it, because if their newfound faith was legitimate, its reward was so much greater than any “loss” they could experience in the present time.

While modern-day Christians (at least in our part of the world) rarely face repercussions to the degree those early converts did, our lives are not without struggles related to our faith. Maybe you’ve been ostracized at school or work because you don’t act or talk the way everyone else does. Perhaps you’ve lost a romantic or familial relationship as a result of not seeing eye-to-eye on matters of faith. If so, the writer of Hebrews is reminding you as well that you “were enlightened” and that you have “a better possession and an abiding one”. Whatever struggles we face as a result of our faith, they will ultimately prove to be nothing compared to the greatness of the reward that is in store for us.

Heavenly Father, thank you for those brothers and sisters who came before us, who paved the way for us by their sacrifice and perseverance. Thank you for their example of a faith that endures because it is true and trustworthy. But most of all, thank you for offering us that faith in the person of your son, Jesus Christ, that we might one day enjoy the reward you have for us. Strengthen us to face whatever struggles may come, that we might be a similar example to future generations. Amen.

Author: Dave MacDonald