How are you coping with the current lockdown? Where would you put yourself on a scale of 1-10 where 1 is anxious and 10 is hopeful? I move up and down the scale. At the one o’clock press conference I tend towards anxious, maybe a 4 on the scale, but when I am in prayer I tend towards hopeful, maybe an 8. In Proverbs we read, “Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a longing fulfilled is a tree of life.” (Proverbs 13:12) We can easily become “heart sick” in times like these when our longing for a “normal” life is unfulfilled. Today we are thinking about “living hope”. This is part of our current sermon series Living the good life. Hope is an essential ingredient in living a good life.
When you purchase tickets for a big sporting event, you probably print them out, put them somewhere safe, and wait, perhaps counting down the days until the event. This is not what God’s gift of eternal life is like! When you put your faith in Jesus, you don’t get a ticket to be used later, at your death, to enter the big event of eternity. In terms of a sports event, rather than getting a ticket, it is more like joining the team, going into training, learning the plays, and handling the ball. In terms of faith, it is not to get a ticket, but to join the family of faith, to learn the teachings, and to serve alongside others. This is not something we are waiting for in the distant future, but a way of life we engage in today.
The first time I really thought I must be getting old was when my primary aged son said to me, Can I have your guitar in your will? I have been a bit lax with regard to updating my will. It is one of those things I thought about from time to time, but it took the threat of COVID-19 to motivate me to update it.
Paul was on trial, in chains, and thought he might soon be sentenced to death. Paul’s letter to Timothy is like his will, the last message he wanted to leave for his dear friend.
Most weeks I receive emails from “widows” living in Africa whose late husbands have left them millions dollars in off shore accounts, which he wanted to donate to our church. I think many of you will have had emails that are similar to these. We know now that these are untrustworthy emails with the aim of stealing money from us. Occasionally people are fooled by them and end up losing money. How do we know if what we read is trustworthy?