...Others were tortured and refused to be released, so that they might gain a better resurrection. Some faced jeers and flogging, while still others were chained and put in prison. They were stoned, they were sawed in two; they were put to death by the sword. They went about in sheepskins and goatskins, destitute, persecuted and mistreated- the world was not worhty of them. They wandered in deserts and mountains, and in caves and holes in the ground... Hebrews 11:35-38
Upon reading this passage, I began to picture what the early followers had endured...and the suffering the cross embodies. It made me think about the groundwork that has been laid for us. Paid for in blood...and cries of anguish.
Consider the apostles and disciples for a moment. They were human just like you and I, but wanted so deeply to follow Christ and desired so earnestly to spread the truth, that they labored night and day, went hungry, fought immense lonliness, were shackled in chains and beaten, brutally murdered...
and I struggle with giving to others when it's inconvenient or when I'm tired...
I love the part about the world not being worthy of them... it wasn't. They loved a world that they didn't belong to...a world that hated them.
Paul would write this about his ministry:
...known, yet regarded as unknown; dying, and yet we live on, beaten and yet not killed; sorrowful, yet always rejoicing; poor, yet making many rich; having nothing, and yet possesing everything... 2 Corinthians 6:9-10
That is the foundation that has been laid for you and I that we might know God...how fortunate we are.