The writer of Hebrews could so easily see the dangers faced by those Jewish Christians. The nation that killed God’s Son turned its wrath on the church almost from the day it began. Jesus had warned them about the trials that were coming. Obviously, they persecuted those Gentiles who had become followers of Jesus, but their persecution was even more fierce on the Christians addressed in this epistle.
They had begun their walk with Jesus and faced many trials which came their way. Hebrews chapter ten describes this: “After you were illuminated, you endured a great struggle with sufferings…you were made a spectacle both by reproaches and tribulations.” The author then adds, “You became a companion of those who were so treated” (10:32-33).
How did they emotionally respond to all of this? “You joyfully accepted the plundering of your goods” (10:34). Earthly possessions are meaningless when viewed from the eternal truth about our existence. They could so easily give up that which was temporal. “Knowing that you have a better and an enduring possession for yourselves in heaven.”
Living faithfully on this earth for many years is so difficult. We understand the faith of those who are martyrs for the cause of Christ. At that last moment they reached deep within their souls and their faith sustained. What we may have done is overlooked the depth of the faith of those who face not a momentary trial, but serve Him for years and years. We rightly honor the faith of martyrs, but perhaps it takes a deeper faith to serve Him for years and years.
When this letter was written their devotion was weakening. Look again at this chapter and the admonition given to them. “Therefore do not cast away your confidence, which has great reward. For you have need of endurance, so that after you have done the will of God you may receive the promise…if anyone draws back, My soul has no pleasure in Him” (10:35- 38).
Now make the application in your life. How long have you been a Christian? Where is your faith in Him compared to what it once was? Remember how joyfully you served Him at first? Remember your routine of daily Bible study and prayer? Remember the joy of partaking of the Lord’s Supper and being part of worship, praising His name? Is it possible that we have become “tired” because the journey seems so long? It is not that we have walked away from Him, but have we lifted our anchor and are we slowly drifting away (Heb. 2:1)?