Hope: It's what's for dinner.

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This weeks devo is posted by Pastor Art Greco.

ENCOUNTER

17th century chaplain, William Rawley used to say, “hope is a good breakfast, but a terrible supper.” In other words, as long as there is plenty of time to see it come to fruition, the positive nature of hope is a welcome ally. But when the sun is setting and the odds of a hope becoming a reality are diminishing, one would do well to make certain that hope is not the only resource available. For so often, as time winds down, the promising flame of hope tends to burn out …

… that is, of course, unless the hope in question is the hope offered in Jesus. For in the case of Christian hope – Advent hope, the closer we get to the culmination of human history, the brighter and stronger hope’s light shines.

As it pertains to common hope, Rawley, though somewhat cynical, was probably right: “It’s a good breakfast, but a terrible supper.” But when we’re talking about a more biblical notion of the hope that’s fixed to the promises of God, it’s not only a good breakfast, but a better lunch and an excellent supper.

BE REFLECTIVE

When you read I Corinthians 13:8-13, do you notice anything special about this idea of hope?

8 Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. 9 For we know in part and we prophesy in part, 10 but when completeness comes, what is in part disappears. 11 When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me. 12 For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known. 13 And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.

The greatest of these is love, but HOPE is mentioned as one of the three most favored “gifts” available to us – one that will last forever. Along with FAITH, hope is linked to the most superior factor of all: LOVE. Here are some things to chew on as you consider these verses:

  • How are FAITH, HOPE, and LOVE connected in such significant ways.
  • Of those three important gifts, why might love be the “greatest”?
  • Christians often hear about faith and love. Why do you think hope is usually emphasized so much less? And of those three, what do you think might be some of the reasons love and faith are more fully understood than hope?
  • If words like “trust” and “patiently waiting” might be virtual synonyms of “hope,” read the last verse of I Corinthians 13 with those “synonyms” inserted instead. What insights or thoughts come to mind when doing that?

BE A BLESSING

One of the important aspects of Biblical/Advent hope is the fact that it is tied to one of God’s promises. If you were in 2nd gathering last Sunday, you saw me spontaneously apply such a promise (albeit out of context, I admit) to our visiting missionaries, Jeff and Carolyn Stoker. Jeff told me afterward that he barely held back tears because of the love our church showed he and Carolyn – including the words we (through me) gave to him in that moment.

Does God bring anyone to mind when you ask him for the name of someone who might need to be blessed by one of his promises today? Drop a pixinote, hand-written card, or even make a call to tell them you were thinking of them and wanted to remind them of something that might contribute to their hope account.  Then read them a biblical promise and remind them of how loved they are by God.

BE TOGETHER

I want to encourage you to join MCC’s group of Monday prayers this week. That meeting is every Monday evening in the prayer room (northeast corner of the worship center). Perhaps you could focus your prayers on the promises of God and ask him to enhance and protect your ability to hope in them.