Friday, October 24, 2014

The House That Hope Built

Noted Black Historian John Hope Franklin owned a Green House where he doted over his magnificent collection of Orchids. Filled with a variety of plants, his plant sanctuary hosted something in bloom during every season. Franklin called this his “house of hope.”

Life in Christ offers us a “house of hope” where eternal spring blossoms perpetually in the human heart. Refreshed and recharged through worship, Scripture reading, and extending friendship without expectation of something in return, He sends us forth to live as windows through which God’s Son-shine warms and comforts.

Across the decades, multitudes have found their faith refreshed and renewed through His “Blessed hope”:              

               Blessed hope we have within us is an anchor to the soul,
                              It is both steadfast and sure;
               It is founded on the promises of the Father’s written word,
                              And ‘twill ever-more endure.1
As songwriter William Schell wrote, Harold Arendt exercised this audacious hope through singing songs of faith that affirmed God‘s love for him. Young Harold grew up in a Church of God parsonage where he watched the people under his father’s pioneer ministry. He saw God filling the lives of Church of God people and filling other people’s lives with hope that enabled them to bless still others in turn. They were a living embodiment of the words written by the Psalmist: “As for the saints who are in the land, they are the glorious ones in whom is all my delight (16:3, NIV).

Translating personal hope into working faith empowered Harold to pursue his dream of becoming an educator. To achieve his goal, Harold drove truck, worked in a bakery, clerked in a grocery store, and did piece work in a nearby factory. His hope-filled faith proved ever dependable and he obtained his education. Receiving that coveted Doctor of Education degree allowed Harold to invest the rest of his Christian life in public education.

He spent his best years investing himself in his pupils; until finally one day he received an anonymous telephone call. The mysterious caller announced, “I’m the boy who started the fire.”

Harold remembered that star football player from a few years earlier. “I’m now a teacher in the public schools,” he announced, “and I thought you would like to know that you are the one who inspired me to be a teacher.”

Harold recalled the fire that ignited in a box of shavings in the school’s brand new industrial arts facility. He remembered quietly but quickly stepping to the sink in the rear of the room, filling a bucket with water, and dousing the flames before returning to his desk - without fanfare.

School authorities only learned of it only when the troubled youth finally confessed, “I had never seen you excited and I wanted to see what you would do when you were excited.” 

Harold’s quiet demeanor and consistent faith somehow fired the aspirations of that young student. He felt inspired to become a teacher, just like the man he so much admired. Through Harold’s years of teaching, the hope he had first seen in the lives of other parishioners eventually became a capital investment in Harold’s personal life. In turn, Harold reinvested that capital and it paid off handsomely in the lives of young students like that young football player.

A quiet demeanor accompanied by consistent behavior very often offers the best of hope to others looking for personal affirmation. Such hope empowers people to stretch themselves. Hope conditions people to reach outward and upward. Such hope elevated Saul of Tarsus to a new level of human achievement as the Apostle Paul. 

Paul's house of hope prompted him to acknowledge that his relationship with Jesus hope kept him steadfast and sure, and caused him to further conclude, “we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who are called according to His purpose.” 2  

1 William G. Schell, “We Have a Hope.” (Anderson: Warner Press, Inc., 1989), p. 727.
2 Romans 8:28, NASB.

From Warner's World,this is


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