Do you remember the old Jim Croce song, “Time In A Bottle?” Well it came to mind the other night as I listened to a friend describing our obsession with icons. Another person at the meeting was telling us of their trip to England recently. One of the places they had went to visit was the castle that Princess Diana lived in. Apparently there is a monument out front in her honor. There were a great deal of people gathered around it and several of them were in tears. In fact, some were even wailing over the lost Lady. Amazing after all these years.
I made the statement that the same thing occurs sometimes at Graceland, Elvis Presley‘s mansion. That’s when my friend spoke up. He pointed out that mankind was created to worship something. Of course that something is God. But what we have is a problem worshipping something that is invisible. We see someone on TV that is “worship-able” and we go after them. This becomes acceptable behavior because all of our friends are doing it as well. Suddenly we have made this person into our god and we’d rather meet them or get their autograph than go to anything that has to do with the only real God in existence.
Over time we begin to put much stock into this person. Anytime they do something that is note worthy, we become excited and we go around bragging to everyone about what a great man or woman they are. When they fail publicly, as in a divorce or a word spoken freely when a camera was unknowingly too near, we go into the defense mode. “Well her husband was a freak and beat her all the time.” “It’s not his fault. He didn’t know there was a camera there and he was only speaking his mind.” You know exactly what I am saying.
Then the ultimately worst thing that could happen, happens. Diana was in a traffic collision, Elvis over-dosed, someone’s heart gives out, some are murdered. What ever the case is, they die. They are mortal, it’s going to happen. Death and taxes, you know? But we have built up a level of immortality for them that’s so high, the realization of them being “able” to die slams us as hard as if it were our own parents. And nine times out of ten, we’ve never even met them.
Hope is the supreme ingredient to a happy life. Without hope, we won’t even rise from bed. We can become robots for a time, but in reality, when there is no more hope, there is no more future. There is nothing left.
We find a thousand sources for hope in our lives. We get it from our spouses, our children, our jobs, our hobbies. We can get hope from the car we’re restoring. There’s always tomorrow to give a little more to this project. And ultimately, a completed project drives us to another hope inducing project. One of the places we gain hope is in the icons that we marvel and idolize. Many times it starts out as a way to fit in with others. Not really peer pressure so much as it is a way to connect with other people. But then it begins to grow and suddenly the wall is covered with their pictures, you see all their movies, you talk about them all the time. It grows and consumes us. All this put into flesh and blood.
Well my friend made a statement that hope doesn’t come in a person. The thought flashed through my frail mind, “Hope doesn’t come in a bottle.” Of course the bottle represents the human body here. Hope cannot be packaged. Hope is something given to someone. It’s source can come from many places as I have said, but ultimate hope transcends flesh and blood.
This ultimate hope is something that carries us past the point of death. It’s not reliant upon something in the here and now. It cannot be brought about by the actions of our children, our friends or relatives or anything that mankind can do here. How can I prove that? Simple, man’s control over things ceases at his death. Then what? At that point we are solely in the hands of God. Any hope we have garnered here on this plain ceases to operate. EXCEPT the hope we have garnered from Christ.
Jesus could easily have moved into a physical realm kingdom. His followers would have only grown in number and eventually would have out numbered the Roman armies. Before he was fifty, he could have ruled the planet. But, His concerns were for eternity, not for the here and now. Hope in Christ is hope that lasts forever. This hope is the hope that carries us during this time and takes into that time.
So, ask yourself this question, “Where does my hope lie?” Is it in the things or the people of this world? Or is it in the Promise of a time to come? Put your trust in Christ and gain hope that is eternal!
Matthew R. Davenport, 2007
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