26 In the same way, the Spirit comes to help our weakness. We don’t know what we should pray, but the Spirit himself pleads our case with unexpressed groans. 27 The one who searches hearts knows how the Spirit thinks, because he pleads for the saints, consistent with God’s will.28 We know that God works all things together for good for the ones who love God, for those who are called according to his purpose. 29 We know this because God knew them in advance, and he decided in advance that they would be conformed to the image of his Son. That way his Son would be the first of many brothers and sisters. 30 Those who God decided in advance would be conformed to his Son, he also called. Those whom he called, he also made righteous. Those whom he made righteous, he also glorified (Romans 8:26-30, Common English Bible).
Yesterday was (the day I actually wrote this post) All Saints Day and I am grateful for the saints of my life. When we think of the word “saint,” the first thought coming to most of our minds are the great Saints of the Church, Saint Peter, Saint Paul, Saint John, Saint Adrew, Saint Teresa of Calcutta, St. John Paul II to name only a few.
The second way we tend to think of the word “saint” applies to people who are no longer with us. It is the way we most often celebrate “All Saints Day.” These are folks the Church may not have canonized. That being said, the Bible makes it clear that those who live in the faith are saints. Paul says, “Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, To the saints who are in Ephesus…” (Ephesians 1:1, NRSV, emphasis mine). It is a reasonable assumption to move from Paul’s understanding to a conclusion that would state, that those who were saints in earthly life would remain saints in the heavenly realm. I generally think of people like Martin Luther, John Wesley, and Francis Asbury. This list would be even longer than the list of canonized Saints of the Church.
The third way we should think of saints would be one I just alluded to, real, life living folks in the Church (and not necessarily the New Orleans Saints). This would include folks like Billy Graham and Beth Moore. But, it also includes average everyday folks like you and me. Those who love God, follow Jesus and are in fellowship with the Holy Spirit are Saints.
As I watch game seven of the World Series I can’t help but wonder how many on each team would Paul consider “saints.” I would love to think it was all of them but I am not naive. I doubt it would be anywhere near all.
I also have thought of a lot of my relatives who are in the Communion of the Saints today. My father-in-law, Mearl passed away a couple of years ago. He was the first person I knew that every time I was in his home (when Cindy and I were dating) always prayed before a meal. My Dad died a little over a year ago. He didn’t understand the nature of calling when I entered the ministry. He asked me if I had lost my mind. Later he told me he was proud of me for standing by my calling and he knew I had made the right decision. Just about a month ago we buried my mother-in-law. In the funeral sermon for her, I referred to her as “Wonder Woman.” There was no physical resemblance with the super-hero of comic book, television and movie fame. But, she had the ability to work wonders in difficult situations.
There are so many in each of these categories of saints for whom I am thankful, especially people like my grandfathers, grandmothers, aunts, and uncles. Some I remember, some I never knew. Still, I am grateful.
This is what I am grateful for today. How about you. What are you grateful for today? Write it down (or type it) in your journal and then share it with someone today.
Have a blessed day in the Lord.
With Joy and Thankfulness,
Copyright 2017, J. Keith Broyles, All Rights Reserved