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The Rope-Factor

As a leader, how would you rate the hope-factor in your life?

I have to admit that I once viewed the virtue of hope as a kind of weaker brother to faith. I’ve thought of hope as in: I hope it doesn’t snow tomorrow...or I hope my boss isn’t mad at me...or I hope I have the winning raffle ticket...or whatever. In the end, it didn’t seem very practical to me; more like “wishful-thinking” than a hard-as-nails virtue.

But here’s a thought: it’s not wishful thinking if it’s true…and it depends what the object of your hope is. If you hope that one day your lost dog will come home, that’s possible if you have a lost dog. But if you hope that one day your lost dog will come home—and you don’t have a dog—chances are pretty sure no dog is coming home.

And go see a therapist.

For those who have surrendered their lives to God and have been “rebirthed”, they have experienced His reality in the present. They have tasted a truth on which to base their hope for the future.

Author and pastor Tim Keller once described hope like this (and I’m really paraphrasing this):

Suppose two guys are hired at a factory and given a job of screwing on caps on bottles on a conveyor belt, one after the other, ten hours a day, every day, seven days a week. The boss says to the first guy, “Work at this for a year, and at the end of the year I’ll give you five-thousand dollars.”

But to the second guy, the boss says, “Work at this for a year, and at the end of that time I’ll give you five-million dollars.”

Who do you think is going to handle that job the best? Yeah, right. The guy making five-thousand dollars is going to give up after a few weeks and say, “This isn’t worth it! This place sucks! This isn’t even minimum wage! I’d rather quit than keep doing this over and over, day after day, 365 days a year.”

But what do you think the guy making five-million dollars will do? How do think he’s going to handle that emotionally? Yeah, he’s whistling while he works, he’s skipping his lunch break, he’s screwing a gazillion caps on a day and he’s smiling. He only has to do this for a year!—for ten million dollars!

Interesting thought, eh?

If you knew there was a promise of more tomorrow, how would you live today? And I don’t just mean “wishful thinking”…I mean really knew there was way more to this life than this life. It was before Israel was subjugated, exiled to Babylon, and circumstances went completely south, that God said to Jeremiah: “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” JEREMIAH 29:11

The Hebrew word used for hope in that verse is tiqvâh, normally translated as hope, but literally a rope. It’s the same word that was used in the story centuries earlier of the Hebrew spies sneaking into Jericho. The prostitute Rahab risked her life to safely hide them, asking only that they spare her family’s life.

Before they left, the men told her, “We can guarantee your safety only if you leave this scarlet rope (tiqvâh) hanging from the window. JOSHUA 2:17–18 (NEW LIVING TRANSLATION)

When you think about it, hope is really just a rope tied to the future.

So let’s change up my opening question: As a leader, how would you rate the rope-factor in your life?

Dave Workman | The Elemental Group


The FOCUS kit is a strategic planning tool-in-a-box! Take your team through a strategic planning exercise that's thought-provoking and fun. You'll come away with clear goals, strategies, timelines, and accountability with a game plan to move your church forward. We've taken the pain out of strategic planning using game theory along with an innovative prayer component. Check it out here!


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