The Rich Ruler: Where Do You Invest Hope?
I was watching the Lorax by Dr Seuss the other night with my daughter and an interesting scene played out, it went something like this:
The Lorax: Which way does a tree fall?
The Once-ler: Uh, down?
The Lorax: A tree falls the way it leans. Be careful which way you lean.
I need to remember this in my own life as well. As I go through each day, with all of it’s ups and downs I can find myself leaning heavily on things like experience, training, talent, etc. In and of themselves, they're not bad things, they’re actually gifts from God! What is the foundation of my leanings throughout the day? When everything is stripped away and it feels like the ground is gone from underneath me, how would I fall? I know I want to fall in the grace and mercy of God, I know I want to hope in the eternal more than whatever I may be facing today.
Proverbs gives us a clear call to lean rightly:
 Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding.  In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.  Be not wise in your own eyes; fear the LORD, and turn away from evil.  It will be healing to your flesh and refreshment to your bones.  Honor the LORD with your wealth and with the firstfruits of all your produce;  then your barns will be filled with plenty, and your vats will be bursting with wine. (Proverbs 3:5-10 ESV)
I love the picture here of healing and refreshment as a result of right leaning in life. I also love how when life gets all "flipped-turned upside down" (that's right, Fresh Prince of Bel-Air reference... good luck getting that tune out of your brain) that my paths are made straight by the Almighty God, He cares enough to be that involved in my life. How awesome is that?!
This past Sunday I shared some of my ‘Hope Barometer’ questions as we considered the interaction between Jesus and the Rich Ruler in Luke 18:15-34. These are responses in my head and heart (as well as those awful moments when they escape my mouth as well...) that reveal where my true hope lies. Relationships, workplaces, schools, home, etc. provide us with a myriad of ways to see where our true hope lies throughout each and every day.
The Rich Ruler was exposed to have invested his hopes unwisely, Jesus helps him, the crowd that was around and even Peter better understand that. Jesus even gives clear direction for where our hopes should be invested.
When the pressure is on, or even changing rapidly around you; what does your ‘Hope Barometer’ read? What is the one thing that God is calling you to surrender to Him in those moments?
Let us be a church marked by having Hope in the living God, in the power we can receive through the Holy Spirit because of Jesus’ work on the cross and let that change the readings on our ‘Hope Barometers’.
Remember: Jesus alone has the power for our salvation and change.