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How to keep hope safe

the faith and love that spring from the hope stored up for you in heaven and about which you have already heard in the true message of the gospel that has come to you. In the same way, the gospel is bearing fruit and growing throughout the whole world—just as it has been doing among you since the day you heard it and truly understood God’s grace.

Colossians 1:5,6

Whenever you start a new job, one of the questions you have to answer was how much money you’re wasn’t going to get paid. That’s right – how much money weren’t you going to be paid.

There are lots of opportunities not to be paid. The number of dependents do you want to claim on your taxes will take money out of your paycheck. So will your choices about health insurance, dental insurance, eyecare insurance.

And then there’s the opportunity to reduce your take-home pay even further through savings and retirement. You get to chose how much you want to put away for your eventual retirement. Sometimes, that decision can be the most important of them all.

When Mary Ann returned to work as a teacher, we talked with our investment advisor and came up with a very unique plan. Mary Ann would take the largest legal deductions for retirement. This really made her take-home pay quite small.

At the start of one school year, one of the school administrators came running to Mary Ann in a panic. “We’ll fix it! We’ll fix it! Don’t worry, we’ll get to the bottom of it.” Mary Ann was totally confused and asked what was the problem.

“Your paycheck. Something’s wrong with it. It’s way too small. We don’t know where the money went, but we’ll find it.” Mary Ann just breathed a sigh of relief and smiled. She then explained that the check amount was correct because of a decision we made about the future.

The administrator was dumbfounded. They were totally amazed. They couldn’t believe it. No one ever did that. No one took the maximum amount out now. She finally screwed up her courage and asked Mary Ann, “So, how do you live on this small amount?”

The Colossians did the same thing, but not with their paycheck. They stored up their hope in heaven. They decided not to live based on the false and flimsy hope that’s all around us today. They made a choice to chose their faith in the eternal future awaiting them.

They took their hope and set it aside. They were reserving their hope for another time. Another place. Rather than burning up all their hope today, they stored it up in a place that would be safe.

Which brings up the question, where do you put your hope? Is it in a safe place? Is it kept safe from robbers? Scammers? Hackers who’ll do anything and everything to take your hope away.

The bad news is that there’s no safe place for your hope in this life. There’s no place with a guarantee to keep your hope safe and sound. As a matter of fact, the only guarantee about your hope in this life is that it’s going to be taken away.

People will disappoint you. They will make promises that they can’t keep, or they just chose to break. Organizations and governments will also let you down. They will promise to do certain things and then drop the ball.

Even if my father and mother abandon me, the LORD will hold me close.

Psalm 27:10

No matter how great a relationship you have with your mom and dad, they will abandon you. They will leave you. They cannot be with you all the time. They can’t be with you everywhere. Only God can do that.

There’s only one person that continually is searching and reaching out to us. Only one person that truly knows us, even our deepest secrets, and yet love us with an unending and unbending love. God’s the only one who knows what we’re going to say and doesn’t run away[1].

He’s the great and powerful eternal envelope. He puts us inside and seals it in a way that no one can get us out. He’s in front of us. He’s behind us. He’s over top of us. He’s even underneath us. He’s put us in an unbreakable bubble of his loving care and compassion for us[2].

Yes, God’s done all this and more in Jesus. He’s made a way back to him. He’s paid the price to bring us back into that close, intimate, transparent relationship with him that we all crave.

So, where’s your hope stored up? People will disappoint, shattering your hopes and dreams into a million pieces. No matter how strong the vault, it will be broken into and the robbers will steal and destroy your hope.

But storing up your hope in Jesus is really the only thing that makes sense. All others will fail. But Jesus never fails. He’s God. He never changes. He’ll never turn away from you. Your hope is secure in him. So, start storing up you hope in Jesus.

[1] Psalm 139:1-4 [2] Psalm 139:5

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