There are many things that are essential to life – obvious things like shelter, food, water. Hope wouldn’t obviously appear in the top 10, but that’s because we take a materialistic view by default. We merely exist without hope, not live. It is crippling to be without it.
I remember a parents’ evening, and being at a loss, as a teacher, to give any useful advice on how their daughter could turn around her indifferent performance in science. A senior teacher later took me aside, and kindly explained the effect that it had had on the family that evening. They felt their daughter had been written off in this vital area. He had the opportunity to explain that although I couldn’t see what to do, didn’t mean all was lost, and he renewed their hope.
Many years later, this young lady was sitting us down and very ably, as manager of the sales team at the local Ford garage, putting together a generous deal on a new car. I don’t know whether she remembered that parents’ evening. I did.
Teachers are in a position to bring hope. It is part of education. We put it in the ‘inspirational’ category. Optional, but actually essential. You need to open your eyes to be able to fulfil that calling. The intervention of that teacher (actually, he was called Mr Hope! The irony of that has never struck me till now!) opened my eyes.
As John Coles said, when I was at a training event at Alpha HQ (Holy Trinity Brompton, London) “We are dealers in hope.”
He was talking to us as church leaders. But make no mistake, this applies to everyone reading this who has come into a love relationship with Jesus. When Bill Hybels reminds us that ‘the church is the hope of the world’ he means everybody.
It is delivered by you to those you rub shoulders with and are not afraid to see and be honest with.