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In God's Hall

by Tim O'Hearn

What I am about to write was inspired by a poem I read in a book about the New York Yankees. Bobby Richardson read the poem at the funerals of both Roger Maris and Mickey Mantle. I won’t print the poem here, for reasons of copyright, but some of the thoughts in it will be here. The poem is by Walt Huntley and can currently be found on the internet at http://www.theswearingens.com/mick/poem.htm or other places. It is about God’s Hall of Fame.

Most of the world knows four seasons: spring, summer, fall, and winter. For some of us the United States has four different seasons: spring training, baseball season, the post-season (including the playoffs and the World Serious), and the off-season. America also has all kinds of halls of fame—football, basketball, rodeo, bowling, cowboy, etc. But when someone talks of going into “THE Hall of Fame” it means the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, New York. (Yes, that town is named for a relative of the author James Fenimore Cooper.)

While Cooperstown may be The Hall in this world, there is a more important Hall of Fame. Some people call Hebrews 11 God’s Hall of Fame. That it may be, but those listed in that chapter are just the charter members. The end of that chapter says that there are other, equally important, members. “And these all, having obtained a good report through faith, received not the promise: God having provided some better thing for us, that they without us should not be made perfect.” (Verses 39-40) There, in that last verse, it says that we can be important members of this Hall of Fame.

It is not easy to get into most halls of fame. You have to do something extra special, and even then you may not be selected. Roger Maris broke the Babe’s single season homerun record and he is not in the Hall. Ron Santo had better statistics overall than many Hall of Fame third basemen, and he isn’t in there (yet). But God lets people into his Hall of Fame on different criteria. You don’t get voted in. You don’t have to perform feats of skill or miracles on the field. I have only one homerun in my career (an inside-the-park hit into the left field corner) but I can still be in God’s Hall of Fame.

All those people listed in Hebrews 11 have one thing in common. It is not how well they played the game. After all, Samson is there and he is known for the number of errors he committed. No, God has only one column in his box score. The top of that column doe not have an H (hits), RBI (runs batted in), W (wins), or K (strikeouts). At the head of that column is an F. It doesn’t stand for fielding but for faith. “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God.” (Eph 2:8)

God’s Hall of Fame is exclusive. Not everybody gets in. But everybody can. Many Hall of Fame acceptance speeches contain a line something like, “I dreamed of this day, but never really thought it could happen to me.” God’s people can be confident of entry into his Hall of Fame. Anyone who makes the team is there. If Cooperstown is “THE Hall of Fame,” then heaven is it in more capital letters. God’s hall is “THE HALL OF FAME.” And I am a member. Are you?