Called To Hope
Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain. 1 Corinthians 15:58
As followers of Jesus we are a people of hope, called to experience the hope of Jesus and to be the hope to a world in desperate need of hope. Our hope flows from the reality that God has conquered death and has set in motion a project of restoration, a new creation if you will. This restoration project is underway and will one day be realized in fullness. The Kingdom of God has been ushered in. We do not build it but we build for it. Because of this, what you do here and now is very, very important. You and I are called to have a significant impact in the world every day. I find that amazingly encouraging. Do you?
Theologian N.T Wright thinks and writes a lot about this reality and so puts it in words far better than I can. He writes:
“But what we can and must do in the present, if we are obedient to the gospel, if we are following Jesus, and if we are indwelt, energized, and directed by the Spirit, is to build for the kingdom. This brings us back to 1 Corinthians 15:58 once more: what you do in the Lord is not in vain. You are not oiling the wheels of a machine that’s about to roll over a cliff. You are not restoring a great painting that’s shortly going to be thrown on the fire. You are not planting roses in a garden that’s about to be dug up for a building site. You are—strange though it may seem, almost as hard to believe as the resurrection itself—accomplishing something that will become in due course part of God’s new world. Every act of love, gratitude, and kindness; “ every work of art or music inspired by the love of God and delight in the beauty of his creation; every minute spent teaching a severely handicapped child to read or to walk; every act of care and nurture, of comfort and support, for one’s fellow human beings and for that matter one’s fellow nonhuman creatures; and of course every prayer, all Spirit-led teaching, every deed that spreads the gospel, builds up the church, embraces and embodies holiness rather than corruption, and makes the name of Jesus honored in the world—all of this will find its way, through the resurrecting power of God, into the new creation that God will one day make.” “That is the logic of the mission of God. God’s recreation of his wonderful world, which began with the resurrection of Jesus and continues mysteriously as God’s people live in the risen Christ and in the power of his Spirit, means that what we do in Christ and by the Spirit in the present is not wasted. It will last all the way into God’s new world. In fact, it will be enhanced there.” N.T. Wright – Surprised By Hope
Pray with me: Make it so, Lord Jesus, in me, in my church and in the world. Give me the courage to live this beautiful reality. Amen.
Peace, hope and love Doug