By Jeff Delp, Executive Director of Community Economic Development at FCS Spend enough time in the ministry world, and you’ll no doubt come to a point where things seem hopeless - either for you, the organization, or the people you’re serving. But does any of it even matter? What does hopelessness really mean in our day-to-day lives?
Understanding the despair of hopelessness is intertwined with the reality of hope. Hope believes that one day, no matter your current struggles, things will look up. Life will be better. Your kids will have a brighter world to live in. The work you do – how you spend your day – will return what you need to live. Hope tells us that all the joys and challenges and laughter and messy hurts we experience in this life are not meaningless.
Hope is beautiful and inspiring. Hope drives us to that minimum wage job because we see it as a stepping stone to a stable future. Hope sits beside us at city council meetings as we advocate for better communities. We do things that we might not normally do because of hope. We desire something better for ourselves and for others.
Imagine living without hope. Without believing that a brighter future is possible. It is truly a dark place where many people in this world live.
This is the first week of Advent. And each year, we reflect on the importance of Christ’s birth for our weary world. The coming King enters the world as a newborn baby. Hope.
I’ve witnessed both the beauty of hope and the destructiveness of hopelessness at work in my community. I’ve seen both influence my personal and professional life. I’ve recognized that life without hope makes it a challenge to thrive, or even survive.
Hopelessness makes us question if the good work we do – whether at McDonald’s or in ministry – will make any difference in our lives or the lives of others. Discouragement sneaks in and robs us of our motivation and desire to make something beautiful in this world.
Hope has become central to my reflections during Advent. Our celebration of the birth of Christ should do one thing if nothing else – offer us hope. It’s one of the greatest gifts God gives to us. Without it, our life and our world would come to a standstill.
We need hope to love each other deeply, to move our communities forward, to educate our children, and to offer something to this world. The birth of Christ gives us that hope. We need to share it with others, and maybe even allow God to remind our own hearts.
This Advent season, I encourage you to reflect on hope. What does it mean for your life and for your community? How can you share hope with someone this season?