Jesus is the hope of the world. We’ve all heard this a thousand times, and yet the First World seems destined to deny itself that great promise as it embraces secularism and the glitz of the here and now. In its ruthless pursuit of materialism it’s prepared to compromise eternity for instant gratification. More and bigger and better are the strong mantras of this age, encouraged by relentless commercialism and an advertising machine that has saturated the very essence of the human mind.
We’ve surrendered to the irrational; we’ve rejected that some things are beyond our reach or need; and we’ve built personal value systems based on “why not” rather than “we shouldn’t” or “we don’t need it. In the end “we want” has caused us to direct all of our resources, both material and intellectual, to attaining all the toys, bells, and whistles that capture our attention but for a moment. And then off we go again in anticipation of a satisfaction that is simply not attainable. If reason were to intersect our drive for perfect possession we wouldn’t be in the desperate straights we’re in today.
The recession of 2009 has blown the cover on greed, pricked the bubble, and uncovered the tragedy of life driven towards the accumulation of wealth. The entire world economy has come crumbling down because humanity has plundered the bounty of Gods creation when it should have exercised stewardship to His glory, and His glory alone. Nations all over the Earth have been devastated and so many have lost any concept of hope they might have had. They have become so engrossed in the search for economic salvation that spiritual salvation finds no home in the human heart. The teachings of Christ have been relegated to intellectual wilderness.
Perhaps our addiction to materialism is reaching the bottom of the pit, and perhaps some may search for a recovery program because our current path leads not to hope but to destruction. Individuals and nations alike die when they give up hope.
Our communities have become mission fields to which the Christian church must give attention. When once we sent dedicated people to the far reaches of the world, armed with Holy Scripture to spread the Good News of the Gospel, so now we see that each village, town, and city on the larger world as desperately needing to hear that same message again.
Jesus taught us to feed the poor, tend to the sick, and to set the prisoner free. What we see today is spiritual poverty, sickness of the soul, and imprisonment in the shackles of greed on our very doorstep. The wealth, the wellness, and the freedom we need is the example of Christ Jesus and the clarity of His teachings about all things. Christ painted a picture of ethics, of values and of mission that brings all things into harmony, and again into relationship with the Godhead.
The New Testament is a Theology of Hope in everlasting life with God, a life filled with goodness and joy, where the glory of His kingdom fills our hearts with thankfulness. When our purpose is His purpose and our lives become consumed with serving Him through living according to Christ’s example, then we will experience the hope and the promise that Jesus has held out to us, Christian hope will become reality and everything we do will be to God’s glory and honor, world without end.