Hebrews 11:2 points out something very interesting: “This is what the ancients were commended for.” What were they commended for? Their faith.
Isn’t that curious? They weren’t commended for doing great deeds. For being intelligent or even wise. Yes, elsewhere their good deeds and wisdom are indeed praised, but it is interesting that in Hebrews 11 the focus is solely on one thing: they were commended for their faith.
I like that, because we often get wrapped up in programs or success or money or numbers … but God says, “No, the root of it all – the thing you have to have before anything else – is faith.”
In fact, we can jump to verse 6: “And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.” It is impossible to please God without faith. Your good works won’t do it. Your programs won’t. Your ministering won’t. Your giving won’t. Your preaching won’t. EVERYTHING is empty if we lack faith.
Remember what Jesus said in Matthew 7:22-23? “Many will say to me on that day, 'Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?' Then I will tell them plainly, 'I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!'” If we don’t have a right relationship with God – which is only based on faith – then nothing else matters.