Investor and philanthropist Eugene Lang, who died in 2017 at the age of 98 gave away $150 million and assisted 16,000 students to attend college over the course of his lifetime.
Once Lang was speaking to a class of 59 sixth graders in East Harlem. He wanted to inspire these predominantly black and Puerto Rican kids to get a good education. But the children seem disconnected and disinterested
Suddenly in the middle of his speech, Lang scraped his notes and admonished, “Stay in school and I’ll help pay the college tuition for every one of you.”
Immediately the lives of these students changed. One girl said, “I had something to look forward to, something waiting for me. It was a golden feeling.” Nearly 90 percent of that class went on to graduate from high school.
This true story illustrates the power and potential of hope in our lives.
This month I’m preaching in Pompano Beach on the theme “20/20 Vision: Restoring Our Focus.” Last Sunday following our previous lesson on “The Vision of Faith” I spoke about “The Vision of Hope.” Here are a few thoughts from that lesson.
Too often we use the word “hope” as a synonym for wishful thinking or whistling in the dark. “I hope this works out,” someone hesitantly utters. Or “I hope nothing bad happens” we fearfully mutter. That’s not hope.
Hope is a fervent desire plus confident expectation. Spiritual hope is founded on faith, made sweeter by divine love, and firmly anchored in Jesus Christ. Hope, William Barclay writes, “looks forward with utter conviction.”
The Bible connects our spiritual vision with hope.
When we have faith’s vision, we have the foundation for our hope. “Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see (Heb 11:1).
When our vision is clear, our insight is sharpened and our hope visible through the eye of faith. “I pray that: the eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that you may know what is the hope of His calling.” (Eph 1:18)
When we are saved, our hope sustains us and preserves us.“For we were saved in this hope, but hope that is seen is not hope; for why does one still hope for what he sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, we eagerly wait for it with perseverance. (Rom. 8:24-25)
(1) Hope’s Vision Encourages Me to Get Started.
Why become a Christian? Why serve a God you haven’t seen? Why follow Jesus who you’ve never met? Why listen to the Word of a Holy Spirit who’s not visible?
Hope. That’s why.
(2) Hope’s Vision Enables Me to Live With ___________
You fill in the blank.
What burden are you bearing? What challenges are you facing? What infirmity are you suffering? What slight are you enduring? What pressure are you feeling? What temptation are you confronting? What persecution are you encountering?
You may wonder, “Am I going to make it?”
Yes. You. Are.
You can trust in “the God of all hope.”
(3) Hope’s Vision Emboldens Me to Go On.
You not only can endure hurt, harm and heartache you can muster the courage to continue. To grow spiritually. To Strengthen your resolve. And to increase your faith.
The Psalmist asks, “Why are you cast down, O my soul? And why are you disquieted within me?
His answer? “Hope in God.” (Ps 42:5).
(4) Hope’s Vision Empowers Me to Say No.
Hope is the foundation of integrity. If there’s nothing out there, nothing in the future that really matters, then why should I be a person of integrity? Honesty? Morality?
The apostle John reminds us “Everyone who has this hope in Christ keeps himself pure just as Christ is pure’ (1 Jn. 3:3).
Because of my hope, I can say no to temporary pleasures, sinful lusts, and ungodly alliances.
(5) Hope’s Vision Enlightens Me to See the Future.
Christians’ real future is not about earthly plans, material success, or early retirement. Our aim is upward. Our goal God-ward. Our future Heavenly
This life is but a preface to eternity. We live in hope of a better tomorrow, a better body, and a better home. We live “in hope of eternal life” (Titus 1:2). We have a “living hope” and anticipate receiving “an inheritance incorruptible, undefiled, and unfading” (1 Pet. 1:3).
“Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful” (Heb 10:23).
–Ken Weliever, The Preacherman