I used to cite this verse from Hebrews when I taught the Old Testament class at church. It comes at the end of the chapter-long recitation of the stories and names of early Jewish saints.
Hebrews 1 1:39. These were all commended for their faith, yet none of them received what had been promised.
40. God had planned something better for us so that only together with us would they be made perfect.
I pointed out that we had an obligation to those saints who went before us. God had said plainly that we would all be made perfect only if we were together. These saints were counting on us.
One of our morning devotionals was based on this passage today. The reader closed with the suggestion that our prayer be “to thank God for the lives of those who have been examples of faith for me, or to ask for the grace to be strengthened in my desire to do whatever God asks of me, perhaps to be an example of faith for others.”
We next turned to Jill Carattini at Ravi Zacharias’ web page. She, too, was considering what attention we owed to the faithful servants who preceded us (her meditation is worth reading in its entirety).
And I had a new insight into the concept. I had always thought about my debt to saints in the past. I realized I had a similar debt to the saints alive around me now. More: I was dependent on them right now, in addition to any saints who might know of me in the future. Anyone I prayed for – and anyone who prayed for me – we were all obligated to each other, mutually depending on each other doing their part so that, together, God might complete the perfection He intends for us.
I resolved to rededicate myself for the benefit of those I sometimes forget are counting on me. I’m praying for you. Especially since I realize anew how much I’m connected to and dependent on you.