Read Hebrews 11:13-16
13 All these people died still believing what God had promised them. They did not receive what was promised,but they saw it all from a distance and welcomed it. They agreed that they were foreigners and nomads here on earth. 14 Obviously people who say such things are looking forward to a country they can call their own. 15 If they had longed for the country they came from,they could have gone back. 16 But they were looking for a better place,a heavenly homeland. That is why God is not ashamed to be called their God,for he has prepared a city for them. (NLT)
The sequoia trees of Western USA take thousands of years to grow to their considerable height. No one who witnessed their beginning is alive to see their growth. Something very small and insignificant becomes in time a massive living thing.
Those who have embarked on the Christian faith journey may see the parallel with our own life and work. We accomplish in our lifetime only a small fraction of God’s total work. Much of what we do achieve is incomplete. The seeds we plant may not bear fruit till after we die. We may not see the end result of the support or counsel we give to another human being.
All this was evident to the author of Hebrews from which our passage is taken. The great ones of faith mentioned in this chapter died before they saw the fulfilment of God’s promises in Jesus. We too,on our own journeys,may never see the results of our efforts. We are part of a much greater and deeper endeavour that has been going on prior to our birth and will go on after our death.
We are caught up for a brief time in the overarching work of God. We ride the wave of his work without reaching the final shore. We play our part in the drama without being there in the final act. In the words of the American poet Wendell Berry,we plant sequoias.