Putting Hope to Work


This past Sunday I preached about hope—the hope that is ours in Christ, from Psalm 130. You can listen here is you like.

I have a friend who helps me. He knows me. He is sensitive to my emotional rhythm. When he senses I am struggling, he asks me about it. And I do the same with him too. This way of caring for each other isn’t work. It is the natural result of our friendship. We are not friends in name only. We are friends, and therefore we make that friendship known by reaching out to one another. Action flows out of the relationship we share.

Jesus tells us we are the salt of the earth, lamps on stands, cities up on hills. We are to let our light shine so that people will see us and praise God because of what they see in us. In other words, the comfort and confidence we draw from the work Christ is doing should draw from us a response of gratitude to God that serves as our witness to the world.

This is how gratitude works, right? Real gratitude, anyway. We don’t just think about the things we’re most thankful for. We talk about them. We tell people. We share stories of how blessings seemed to come out of nowhere, and just in time too. It’s almost impossible not to talk about the things we love the most.

You’ll be hard-pressed to find any theological truth that is simply meant to be heard and filed away under “general information”. God calls us to live not only as recipients of his kindness, but to proclaim his mercy and grace to others.

In fact, Jesus says, it just doesn’t make any sense not to. It would be like putting your lamp under a basket so that the light doesn’t get out. Or hiding the salt during a meal so that there is nothing to draw out flavor and complexity—to make known to the senses what is already there.

In Christ’s kingdom, the meek inherit the earth. The mourners are comforted. Those who hunger and thirst for righteousness will not be disappointed. The merciful are shown mercy. The peacemakers and the persecuted will see God and find peace. These truths from Scripture are not mere bits of “information”. They present a message and we, if we understand them, are meant to be messengers. Light in a dark world. Salt for bland imaginations. 

May the world see the light of the Gospel shine through us as we live according to the hope that is ours in Jesus.

About the Art: Rembrandt, Jesus Among his Students, drawing in chalk, colored with pen and brush (35 × 48 cm) — 1634

Russ Ramsey
Russ is a pastor and author living in Nashville, Tennessee. His books include Struck: One Christian's Reflections on Encountering Death (IVP, 2017), and the Retelling the Story Series, featuring The Advent of the Lamb of God (IVP, 2018). His personal mission is to communicate the truths of Scripture in accessible ways to people in process. Follow Russ on Facebook / Twitter / Instagram.

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