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Wednesday-Hope Doesn't Float

 

I hope in the Lord Jesus to send Timothy to you soon, that I also may be cheered when I receive news about you. I have no one else like him, who will show genuine concern for your welfare.

 

Philippians 2:19,20

 

There are many different kinds of hope. Just look at the people around you. I bet you’ll find all sorts of hopes. What kind of hope do we have? Is it genuine or imaginary hope? Is it real hope or a hope-so? True hope or a false hope?

 

God’s kind of hope isn’t like the beginning and ending scenes of Forest Gump[1] where this small, white feather just floats alone on a puff of air. Hope from and in God isn’t some formless thing that has no substance.

 

If that’s your hope, then you really don’t have any. You’ve only got a shadow of real hope. You’ve got some make-believe imitation that’s no more real than a Loony Tune cartoon.

 

Paul’s hope isn’t like that at all. His hope is solid and sure. It’s more real than the things he can see and touch. His hope isn’t an idle hope, one that just sits there and burns up energy and time.

 

No. His hope is one that’s founded on faith in the Lord Jesus. His death and resurrection are the most important, historical, and real things in Paul’s life. While he probably never sang these words, this old hymn says it oh so well.

 

My hope is built on nothing less, than Jesus' blood and righteousness;

I dare not trust the sweetest frame, but wholly lean on Jesus' name.

On Christ, the solid Rock, I stand: all other ground is sinking sand [2]

 

You see, Paul’s faith in God has put him in contact with other believers. And together, they built relationships as they worked together for the kingdom of God here on earth. He build deep friendships with many people, and Timothy might be at the top of that list.

 

When Paul says that he has no one else like Timothy, he isn’t giving out an empty compliment just to fill space on his blog. No. Timothy and Paul think the same way. They feel the same way. They want the same things.

 

The highest and greatest compliment that Paul could give is that he had no one else like Timothy in his life. Timothy was truly unique in all the people that Paul met and knew throughout his travels and exciting life.

 

Timothy and Paul might be separated by age. Education. Background. Cultural and ethnic differences. But deep down inside, they want exactly the same thing. They were true brothers in Jesus. They were partners in the faith.

 

I had the great and humbling privilege of partnering with a guy named Herb. We couldn’t be more different. He was black, I was white. He was in his prime, I was well past mine. He was 6’ 7” tall while I was barely 6’ if I really stretched. He played starting lineman for Notre Dame, and I didn’t go to college. He was from Detroit, and I was from Baltimore. He was an insurance agent while I never sold a policy in my life.

 

There were other differences, but none of really mattered. Deep down inside, we both loved Jesus. Neither of us were perfect, but we both looked to God for his forgiveness and grace. We became partners and set up an internet technology company to solve one of the great problems in the insurance industry. We had what I still think is a great idea for proving that you had insurance. We worked closely together for many years.

 

I remember the first road trip we went on together. We met someone who was creating a video about our company and ideas. As we sat down for lunch with this consultant, Herb looked at us both and said, “Let’s bow our heads and give thanks to God.” He then prayed for us, the food, our working together, and our families.

 

I don’t know how many business lunches you’ve eaten. I’ve been involved in thousands. But there have only been a precious handful where the leader took charge and led everyone in prayer. Herb was that kind of guy. After the company failed, we’d still talk. Even though Herb was a young man, he developed heart trouble. Every so often we’d speak while he was in a hospital or rehab bed. And it never failed that he’d ask me to pray for him. It was an honor that I shall never forget. Even though Herb went to be with our Lord, I still miss him.

 

So, the question is who is your Paul? Who do you have that’s pouring so much into your life that you’re not the same? Who’s investing into your life to the point that people see a changed person because of them? Who’s making you more like Jesus?

 

And next, who’s your Timothy? Whose life are you pouring yourself into? Can you name the person that you’re spending time with? Encouraging them in the faith? Pointing them to Jesus. And when necessary, providing guidance? Even correction? Growing in hope and faith requires both someone to encourage us and for us to encourage someone. You need both. Hope doesn’t float, it needs flesh and blood of someone else. Who’s your “I have no one like them?”

 

Noodling Questions

 

  • How does hope in Jesus differ from other kinds of hope?

  • Where is it easiest for you to be hopeful? Why?

  • Name some hopeful people that you look towards to fill your life with hope.


[2] My Hope Is Built on Nothing Less, Edward Mote, 1834

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