In my last post, I began my adventure with a serger sewing machine. So far, I have learned that sometimes just reading the manual can be tricky. Today the machine will accompany John and I to church so that a more experienced friend can give me some pointers to accommodating the tension and making sure it is threaded correctly. As I was thanking God that I was so blessed to have women in my life that could help guide me, as she is not the only one, it occurred to me how applicable it is to the rest of my life.
In Hebrews 11, God pours on us a luxury: examples of faith. This week we studied faithfulness as one quality to the Fruit of the Spirit. As I thought of this "great cloud of witness," I realized that the beginning of the list had few if no examples to fall back on for encouragement. These men and women stepped out in faith and were counted righteous before the Lord. Now we can read their stories of faith along with those that have come since to find encouragement in our own walk.
However, I think that Hebrews 11 teaches us an additional concept. If the Lord allowed these histories of faith to be included in the Bible and also admonishes us become part of a body of believers, is it because we are to continue to learn from each other? I think so. We involve ourselves in Bible study, go to church, and interact with other believers partially for our instruction. Sometimes what the Bible (our manual) is teaching us is just plain hard to understand. Now before anyone gets in a tizzy - I am NOT saying that the Holy Spirit cannot reveal the whole truth of Scripture. I most definitely believe He can and does. Sometimes He chooses to use someone in our "cloud of witnesses" to instruct, admonish, or challenge us.
As a seamstress, I seek the advice of more experienced seamstresses when I encountered projects or challenges I have never come to before. They provide instruction and encouragement. What I have also found is that the best ALWAYS remind me to go back to the manual (or pattern/instructions). I think that is the true test of the value of their instruction and encouragement.
I have also found this to be true in all areas of my life. I have been blessed with a great cloud of witness that help me in parenting, marriage, friendships and every other in my life. Sometimes by their words to me directly and many other times through their examples. Again the best always encourage me to go back to the manual as God's Word is the best instruction I can receive. This morning I am thanking God for my mighty cloud of seamstresses and also for the exceptional examples of faith He has given me in my life.