The word “hope” in Scripture does not mean wishing for something to happen or turn out a certain way. Rather “hope” means a confident trust in the sovereign God to do his will in our lives…all the way to eternity. In our passage today, the apostle Paul makes it clear that he wants his ministry to outlive him. Paul’s hope, his certain confidence, is that his love for Jesus will be passed on to another generation. Parents, isn’t that what we want? Isn’t that our hope, our certain confidence, that our faith will be passed on to our children? Here’s what Paul says:
2 Corinthians 3:2-3
You yourselves are our letter of recommendation, written on our hearts, to be known and read by all. And you show that you are a letter from Christ delivered by us, written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of human hearts.
Parents lead and live beyond themselves. We are not content to stay in a corner simply doing daily devotions. Christian parents feel the call of God to make an impact for him. This call is not based on spiritual pride. We don’t parent in order to have statues built for us. We desire to pass on our love for Jesus to our children, resting in the hope that they will do the same.
Passing our faith on to others does not happen without action. Paul did the hard work of prayerful planning, dangerous travel, studying, teaching, and enduring persecution. Today we may not face persecution, but to have the hope of passing our faith on to the next generation takes prayerful planning, reading and studying God’s Word, teaching our children, and backing up our words with godly living. The fruit of the Spirit is “known and read by all.”
Hope doesn’t just happen. It is brought about by spiritual discipline and growth. When your children speak at your funeral, I bet they won’t mention the expensive Christmas gifts. Let’s aspire for their focus to be on the gift of Jesus that you allowed them to see in you up close and personal.
Lord, help us make an impact on the lives of those around us for you and your eternal purposes. Give us the desire to lead beyond ourselves. In your name. Amen.