I am a big baseball fan, meaning that yesterday was an exciting day for me, since it was Major League Baseball’s annual All Star Game. To the best of my recollection I have not missed an All Star Game since I started paying attention to baseball in 1986. Last night, like there is just about every year, there were stories that made the game special. For instance, the youngest position player ever to play in an MLB All Star Game played last night–the Washington Nationals’ Bryce Harper, who is just 19 years old. The Atlanta Braves’ Chipper Jones, who is 40, played in his last All Star Game, since he will be retiring at the end of this season. The New York Mets’ R.A. Dickey played in his first All Star Game at age 37.
It seems that every year the All Star Game features some perennial All Stars–players who always appear in the mid-summer classic, both because of their outstanding skill and the fans’ appreciation of their efforts. My all-time favorite baseball player, Cal Ripken, Jr., for example, played in nineteen straight All Star games. Yet, each year’s game also includes players who appear in their first All Star Game–and for some of them their first and only.
As I was thinking about this I was reminded of Hebrews 11, the passage that many have called the Hall of Faith. In that chapter the writer of Hebrews describes several Bible characters who obeyed God in faith. Those mentioned in this chapter (with the possible exceptions of Barak and Jephthah) would probably fall into the category of God’s perennial All Stars–the men whose stories are well known, often referenced, and stand among the great stories of obedient faith.
What these men did certainly qualifies for a “Hall of Faith,” too, in my opinion. Abraham, for example, “was called to go out to a place that he was to receive as an inheritance. He went out, not knowing where he was going” (Hebrews 11:8, ESV). There have been plenty of times in my own life when it was difficult to follow God even when I knew where I was going; to pack up everything and strike out trusting the God would lead the way is certainly an example of great faith! Or Noah, who verse 7 says obeyed God regarding events “as yet unseen.” Noah was supposed to build an ark, though he lived nowhere near a body of water, because God said he would destroy the world with a great flood, which no one had ever seen or imagined. Noah not only did this, but he worked at consistently and faithfully for one hundred years! It seems sometimes I cannot spare 100 minutes for God, much less stick with something He has asked me to do for 100 days. One hundred years of faithful obedience because of events unseen or unheard of is tremendous faith!
At the same time, the Bible is full of many other heroes of the faith. Some of them receive only one short mention in Scripture and are not heard of again. Some played small roles in history, but demonstrated tremendous faith in the one moment for which their story has been recorded.
One of the fun things about the MLB All Star Game is voting. Fans all over the world can vote for their favorites, for the players that they want to see or believe are deserving to be on the teams. Who would be on your list of God’s All Stars?