The Gift of Giving Hope
Throughout Advent, our sermons here at Forest Hills are focused on receiving gifts of hope, peace, joy, and love. As our response to receiving these wonderful gifts from Christ, lay speakers from our congregation have been offering thoughtful meditations on how we can give these gifts away to others. Today’s meditation comes from Phillip Frye as he encourages us to share the gift of HOPE with others this Christmas season.
Over the past few years, I’ve been more intentional about listening to the Holy Spirit’s calling, and when He’s nudging me, I just go ahead and act. I’ll have to admit, when I first started feeling the Spirit nudging me to say something or to do something I pretended not to listen or made up some lame excuses in my head and let the opportunity pass, only to kick myself later on for letting it slip by. These days, I do my best to pay attention and to see who the Lord is putting in my path to help or to give encouragement to.
For the unbeliever, you and I may be the only Jesus that someone ever sees, and they may see us every day, whether it be at school, or work, or at the bus stop, at the library, or at the grocery store. Most folks are shy and guarded, and they aren’t going to come right out and share their life story or ask you why you have hope in your life or where it comes from, but they know there is something in your life that makes you “different”.
Most often, you have to make the first move. It can be as simple as asking someone how their day is going and then inquiring further.
Over the past few years, I’ve started asking folks if I can pray for them when they are going through a rough time, whether it is a job loss, or a health problem, or a financial difficulty. And then I pray for them right on the spot, which can be a powerful witnessing opportunity. It may be the first time I’ve ever met them, and you never know – it could be the only time I meet them. You, too, can do the same thing.
God is putting you in their path for a reason. Never pass up an opportunity to share your testimony and share what Jesus is doing in your life. You may only get one chance.
A few weeks ago, I heard about a friend of mine whose husband had died unexpectedly. The more I learned about the situation, I discovered that he had committed suicide. Can you imagine the burden that he must have been feeling to take his own life? What if someone had come along and witnessed to him that this life is only temporary and that we have the hope of eternal life in heaven?
As you think and pray about who God has placed in your path, I hope these two passages of scripture will encourage you to share the HOPE that you’ve found in Christ with others…
Isaiah 40:31 – “But those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.”
Matthew 5:14 - “You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. 15 Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead, they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. 16 In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.”
Let your light shine. Share His Love. Pass It On. Be Intentional. Listen to the Spirit’s Nudge. Be Bold and Share the Gift of Hope, not only during this season of Advent, but the whole year through.