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  • Shawn Thornton

Thankful for Those Who Cheer Us On

Saturday - October 16th

Scripture to Read Today: Hebrews 12:1-3

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us....

Hebrews 12:1


In the fall of 1985, I began a new stage of life as a college freshman at Appalachian Bible College in West Virginia. All of us, as freshmen, kept busy with a flurry of activities, class schedules, new friends, professors, and lots and lots of books. So, when our first break came, we were ready!


I headed to my childhood home in Mishawaka, Indiana. The day after Thanksgiving, I walked up the familiar steps of Twin Branch Bible Church looking for my Dad. He was the part-time custodian of our church. As I arrived, he was finishing up some mopping and indicated it was a one-man job.


Since Dad didn’t need my help, I made my way to the A-frame sanctuary of our church. Walking around the familiar place of worship, I pictured Bev Grant at the piano while her husband Louie led congregational singing. I thought about the Antrups as I passed “their pew.” My mind wandered to Dave Doolin, the man who spent so many hours mentoring and discipling me in High School. As I settled on the steps in front of the pulpit, Sunday School teachers, Awana leaders, and Youth Group leaders all came flooding to mind as I reminisced.


My mind then drifted to all the new people I had already met at college. I thought about the professors who were expanding my understanding of God and my part in His world. I forged life-long friendships with guys on my dorm floor. I fell in love with a beautiful girl from Baltimore named Lesli Russell (my wife of over three decades). I wished my two worlds could meet - all the people who had a hand in shaping my childhood and all the people shaping the next stages of my life.


God’s Word tells us good friends can be refreshing to our souls (Proverbs 27:9). Through my life and ministry, I have been blessed with many different friends in various places. I wish I could spend an evening introducing all of them to each other.


One day they will all meet. Then, I’ll be able to introduce all these incredible people to each other in heaven.


Most of us have had coaches, teachers, parents, friends, roommates, colleagues, and fellow brothers and sisters in Christ who encouraged and championed us in life. Christian mentors and voices help us to thrive in life and service for Jesus. Hebrews 12:1-2 describes these folks as a great cloud of witnesses. They help us advance in life and keep our eyes on Jesus!


We should be thankful for those who cheer us on in life!


Who are you thankful for from your past? Reach out to them and let them know how much they impacted your life. Who are you grateful for that God has in your life today? Find ways to let them know how much their part in your life means to you.


God surrounds us with the people in life that we need to thrive and flourish. We need to recognize and celebrate them!

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