Spotlight 19/2021: Double future, double hope
Future can mean the next minute, the next year, or even eternity. This is also true for the future in Christ. District Apostle Peter Schulte from Australia points out similarities and differences.
We go about life dealing with the task at hand today. We work with understanding and experience that has been gained from the past. Life itself, however, is future-oriented.
I am sure that in hindsight we would all make some different decisions in our lives that we feel would have made our lives better as a result. Some of these decisions would have made drastic differences and others would have made small changes.
Wise advice is to start with the end in mind. We try to implement plans that will stand us in good stead for tomorrow. With our survival instincts we make decisions today that will sustain and enhance our health and well-being going forward. This incorporates even planning for tomorrow.
Hope also plays an integral role in our future. Hope is commonly used to describe a wish or the expectation of something desired. If we put no effort into making our wish happen, it simply remains a wish. Whether a person’s hope is fulfilled is greatly influenced by the effort they apply to making it happen. Grounds for hope are built on the past, but hope lies in the future.
In our natural lives we can relate to all these thoughts, and it is much the same in our faith lives. In the parable of the wise and foolish virgins, with hindsight the foolish virgins would have gathered more oil if they could have now that they were living with the outcome of not having brought enough oil to trim their lamps.
In Matthew 5: 6 we read of a spiritual survival instinct: “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be filled.” This is experienced in our longing to partake of word, sacrament, and forgiveness. Only through these spiritual gifts of Christ can we attain righteousness before God and come to salvation.
With our faith, hope is the confident expectation of what God has promised, and its strength lies in His faithfulness towards us. We hope in our long-term future with Christ, but already now we adjust our lives to our near future with Christ.
The wise advice to start with the end in mind also applies to our faith. The next minute, next day, next week, next year, and eternity are all part of our future. Focusing on our near future with Christ means walking with him today already. Our long-term future with Christ includes being part of the marriage feast of the Lamb, the kingdom of peace, and an eternity with the Lord.
When we embrace our relationship with Christ today, He will teach us, forgive us, and strengthen us, and by this we become like Him. In 1 John 3: 2 we can read: “Beloved, now we are children of God; and it has not yet been revealed what we shall be, but we know that when He is revealed, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as he is.”
Our future in Christ starts today already—in our minds and hearts.