Living As People of Hope
Dear Pastors and Leaders,
Hope does not disappoint us, for we live as people of hope. Paul writes to the church in Rome, “And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.” (Romans 5:5) Therefore, in every circumstance, we live as a people of hope, who press on into the future where God is already at work.
Just a few days ago, we celebrated the life of General Superintendent Emeritus, Dr. Paul Cunningham, a man who lived his life with great hope. He was a man who knew what it meant to live in radical obedience to Jesus Christ, and his hope in Jesus never put him to shame but allowed him to remain faithful, even while in later years he struggled with his health. He has joined the great cloud of witnesses and encourages us today to press on and keep our eyes fixed on Jesus.
Our world is currently filled with many distractions, and it’s easy to get our eyes off of Jesus. The COVID-19 crisis continues throughout the world, and yet, there are those among us who are bringing hope. The church in Mexico has suffered during this time with many falling ill and some dying, but at the same time, the members of our church who are medical doctors have gone to work. We have heard of them traveling to towns and villages and caring for those who are very ill. District superintendents are reporting the many numbers of people who have now recovered from COVID-19, specifically because of the loving care that they have received from Nazarene medical workers. These people have put their own lives on the line, and they have lived into the hope that they have received in following Jesus. For this, we give God the praise.
The economic challenges threaten to distract us from living into the hope we have in Christ. However, we continue to hear of those who are willingly sharing with one another throughout this crisis. A pastor’s family in Guatemala had been saving for their daughter’s quinceñera, a traditional celebration in many Latin American countries for young women on their 15th birthday. These parents had modeled what it meant to be servant leaders, and their daughter asked if she could use the money not for a party but to buy food to care for people in her community. We have hope because the love of God has been poured out into the hearts of those who follow Him.
Each country has its own distractions. From the protests of Belarus to the massive explosion in Lebanon to elections in the United States, it’s easy to fix our eyes on what is happening around us and become consumed. In the midst of it all, we remember those like Dr. Cunningham who have gone before us and who lived in total obedience to the Lord. The author to the Hebrews encouraged the first century Christians who were facing great difficulty:
Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him, he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart. (Hebrews 12:1-2)
Please, continue to press on and do not lose heart. It’s our turn to run with perseverance, all the while keeping our eyes fixed on Jesus. He will not disappoint!
Grace and Peace,
Board of General Superintendents,
Filimão M. Chambo, Eugénio R. Duarte, David W. Graves, David A. Busic, Gustavo A. Crocker, Carla D. Sunberg
Filed Under: Communicator Published: 09/08/2020