Hebrews 12:1-2 (HCSB)

1 Therefore, since we also have such a large cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us lay aside every weight and the sin that so easily ensnares us. Let us run with endurance the race that lies before us, 2 keeping our eyes on Jesus, the source and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that lay before Him endured a cross and despised the shame and has sat down at the right hand of God’s throne.

We are reminded in the scriptures that we have a cloud of witnesses that surrounds us. Who is in your cloud, who has been that person that has helped you grow in your faith? Who has been the person who helped you keep your eyes on Jesus. We have started this week with remembering those who did not make it home from war in celebrating Memorial Day. My parents made it home from their service both in World War II and the Korean War, but they relayed to all my siblings and myself to be thankful for those who did not make it home. I hope you have remembered those who have given all by laying down their lives in service to our country. It is on their sacrifice we have the country that we enjoy as US Citizens.

Who has been the person in your life who has been the example of Christ? This coming Sunday is celebrated in some churches as Pentecost Sunday, the beginning of the spread of the Gospel across this world. Are you running the race? For many of us we are afraid to be that courageous person that is bold in their faith. In 1835, the first organized Christian church was established in this county to spread the Gospel of Jesus Christ. It was a Methodist Episcopal church, the forbearer of the present day United Methodist church. Why did those men and women come to this county? It was their zeal for what Jesus Christ meant to them and to their lives! They endured so we may have the faith that has been passed down to us. Do you have the endurance to run the race that is set before us? I wonder some days who will carry the faith past this present generation. I am reminded that our children will be those who will keep the faith going. Our world is in great need for you persons who are strong and confident in their daily witness. Have we the present generation of adults been a good witness to these young people.

How do you spread the Gospel of Christ to the world in your daily witness? I hope that we are doing a good job. Do you show the love of Christ to others, how do persons know you? When it comes your time to be remembered how will people remember you? I hope that our witness continues to spread the Gospel of Jesus Christ to every corner of our county, state, nation and to every corner of the globe. May we always keep our eyes on Jesus, the source and perfecter of our faith.

Rev. George E. Odell is Lead Pastor, Clinton-First United Methodist Church