1117616_90439539 (1)Hope deferred makes the heart sick,but a longing fulfilled is a tree of life. Proverbs 13:12 NIV

When we attach meaning to life, it adds a whole series of new dimensions. Without meaning, no purpose; no purpose, no power; no power, no action; no action, no result. So there!

An integral part of those identified “meanings” is the element of hope. Hope encompasses what we look forward to. Hope is forward leaning, not backwards looking. Clearly looking forward is important.

I am reminded of Luke 9:62: No one who puts a hand to the plow and looks back is for service in the Kingdom of God.

So, why not look back? If the plow is in front of you, and you look back or to the side, there is little chance that you will plough a straight furrow, or row in the ground. We can stop and look back. It will provide perspective on where you have been, and hopefully, what you have learned. However, it is in the application of what you have learned by “putting your hand to the plow and not looking back”.

We recently discussed in our Life Group, the difference between Hope and Faith. Great conversation and unearthed some key perspectives. Hope is that desire or expectation that something specific is, or is not, going to happen. It is the expectation” part that creates anxiety or the willingness to stand on your “tip toes “to see “if the parade” is coming.

While hope is expectation, Faith is belief that something is true or actually will happen. You typically don’t act on hope, but you do on Faith. When you are simply hoping for a result, you typically are not taking action to assist in its realization. Hope is much more passive. So when hope is deferred, you really do feel helpless, or hopeless. When we hope for an outcome and it shows up, we are genuinely surprised. When the act of faith is rewarded, we are confirmed in our belief and feel justified in our faith.

I was speaking to a young man about Future-Funded Ministry the other day. He said,” I hope I can have one and can serve God to the end of my time.” I then asked two probing questions:

1. Do you have any idea what that Future-Funded Ministry would look like?

2. And have you taken any steps to bolster the likelihood that it will?

Dejectedly, he acknowledged he had done neither. He was then encouraged when we probed a little more and discovered that he did not have to be either hopeless, or helpless. He was able to strengthen his Hope, grow it to a position of Faith, and then connect it with some of the preparation God was doing now that will be played out in his Future-Funded Ministry.

“A longing fulfilled is a tree of life”. Indeed. Knowing that there is more, and that you are scheduled to be an integral part of it, is just another part of God’s overarching plan for your life. Faith, purpose, preparation, and action make up the four elements leading to the “tree of life”.

Living Trusted Advice together.


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