Day 8

December 10

Hebrews 11:1-7

"Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. 2 Indeed, by faith our ancestors received approval. 3 By faith we understand that the worlds were prepared by the word of God, so that what is seen was made from things that are not visible. 4 By faith Abel offered to God a more acceptable sacrifice than Cain’s. Through this he received approval as righteous, God himself giving approval to his gifts; he died, but through his faith he still speaks. By faith Enoch was taken so that he did not experience death, and “he was not found, because God had taken him.” For it was attested before he was taken away that “he had pleased God.” 6 And without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would approach God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him. 7 By faith Noah, warned by God about events as yet unseen, respected the warning and built an ark to save his household; by this he condemned the world and became an heir to the righteousness that is in accordance with faith.

The Essence of Faith

by Sarah Kathryn Ricci

Hebrews 11:1-7 beautifully captures the essence of faith: confidence in what we hope for and assurance about the unseen. This faith, known as pistis in Greek, encompasses trust, confidence, and belief. As the foundation of our hope, faith is not blind; it's rooted in testimony and visible transformation brought about by Jesus. 

Those praised for their faith in ancient times knew that God’s command shaped the universe, moving it from what can be seen to what is unseen. Abel's faith led him to offer a pleasing sacrifice, and even in death, his faith continues to speak. Enoch's faith spared him from death. Noah, warned of unseen catastrophes, built an ark. By his faith, Noah built and ark, condemned the world, and inherited righteousness. These biblical narratives mirror our journey of faith—a journey marked by transformative experiences, and united by our trust in God.

Reflecting on our shared mission at Baylor, I am grateful to be a part of an institution that is invested in educational excellence inside of a caring community. It is an environment that allows faculty to integrate faith and intellectual pursuits as well as embracing scholarship as a form of Christian stewardship. And beyond the classrooms, a commitment to service is instilled in each of us, promoting opportunities to love and serve others.  Our Baylor community leans into this faithful journey calling us to participate in transformative experiences daily.

As we center our thoughts this Advent season, our faith should serve as a source of delight. Not something to hidden or ashamed of, as it grounds us in the promise of God’s presence among us. This season calls us to lean into Him not just with our minds or feelings but with a trust that embraces both and through our faithful actions.

About the Author

Andrea Shepherd

Sarah Kathryn Ricci

Sarah Kathryn Ricci has served at Baylor University since 2019, coming to the institution after years of leadership and work in engaging alumni and their alma maters. In her role, Ricci works to connect Baylor’s alumni with the University, helping to foster stronger connections while helping to support the philanthropic goals of the institution.

Ricci came to Baylor after more than five years with Ruffalo Noel Levitz, a leading provider of higher education enrollment management, student success and fundraising support, where she served as Vice President of Account Management and Senior Consultant. Ricci’s career in higher education began at the University of Mississippi within the Office of Alumni Affairs and University Development. She holds her BBA and MBA degrees from the University of Mississippi.