Summary: Our greatest hope is in the resurrection and eternal life, not in the things of this world.
Life’s Greatest Hope
by Pastor Jim May
The greatest hope that we have is the hope of the resurrection. All that I am, all that I will ever be, my hopes, my dreams, my life’s work, and all of my plans are centered upon that one single hope. Because I am convinced that there is a resurrection and that I have eternal life, I can cast aside the things of this world, taking only what is necessary to live in the manner that Jesus has called me to do. I cannot get attached to many of the things of this life. It isn’t that I wouldn’t want them, or perhaps that I would not have the finer things of life, if that opportunity should come, but that can never be my central focus.
There was a time in my life, about 15 years ago, when my focus was changed for a long time. I chased after the American Dream of wealth, prosperity and financial independence. I seemed to be on a fast track to great financial success and I am convinced that if things had continued to happen as they did in those first few years of chasing that dream, today I would not be standing here before you as a minister, or as a pastor. I would be out there with the rich and “not-so-famous”, enjoying the life of leisure and luxury.
But I wonder if I would still possess eternal life? It is not impossible to be rich and still be saved because I know a lot of people who are, but I’m not sure that I would have been.
Have you ever seen things in life that you just wanted so bad that you could taste it? That’s what I saw in financial independence. I saw a great chance to become debt free and have the things in life that make this life better! Now that is a worthy goal and one that all of us should aim for. Don’t you just hate the monthly bills that seem to come twice a month and there isn’t enough money to go around. It seems that the harder we work, and the more we try, we just keep getting further behind.
I am reminded of the passage written by the prophet Haggai in Haggai 1:5-7, "Now therefore thus saith the LORD of hosts; Consider your ways. Ye have sown much, and bring in little; ye eat, but ye have not enough; ye drink, but ye are not filled with drink; ye clothe you, but there is none warm; and he that earneth wages earneth wages to put it into a bag with holes. Thus saith the LORD of hosts; Consider your ways."
But it wasn’t just being debt free that I wanted. I also wanted to be able to feel successful and to have the things that so many other people have. I wanted, and I still desire, to have the boats, bigger and nicer home, a camp on the river, free time to just kick back and enjoy life without a care in the world, and maybe a really nice diesel pusher 45’ Prevost Motor Coach to travel across America.
There are so many good things out there that I would love to have, but for me, the price of having them was just too high. It’s not the price in money that I’m talking about. Money can be made. I know that a lot of people just can’t see it, but there is money all around you just waiting to be picked of the tree, if you will.
I’ve read a lot of books from secular authors that teach you how to become a leader, how to improve your personality, how to mastermind and how to become rich in this world’s goods.
Think and Grow Rich, written by Napoleon Hill taught me how to mastermind with other leaders and plan for a successful journey (but you have to have other leaders with the same mentality for this to work).
Acres of Diamonds by Russell Conwell, was the little book that made me realize that money, wealth and prosperity was all around you if you are just willing to pay the price and do what it takes to get it for yourself.
I have read a lot of books on creating, building and obtaining your dreams. All of them were very influencing and had some great dream building lessons for any who would like to learn. I read Dreamers Never Sleep and Wake Up And Dream, by Pat Mesiti. His books are very good reading for those who want to rekindle or build a vision that is far beyond their imagination for the present.
I have read so many self-improvement books and psychological books as well in an attempt to become the best I could be. I wanted to change all of my weaknesses and make them stronger, then to tone down my overpowering strengths and make myself more acceptable to everyone I met. Personality Plus and Personality Tree by Florence Littauer were two of the most influencial books that I read although there were many more on this same subject. They taught me my weaknesses and my strengths and how to change them to be what I needed to be. They also taught me how to relate to other people and to pick out their personality traits very quickly so that I could better influence them to do what I wanted them to do.