Chip Stapleton Highland Presbyterian Church April 24TH, 2020 Hunkered Down Devotions
1 Peter 3:13-16 The Voice (VOICE)
13 Why would anyone harm you if you eagerly do good? 14 Even if you should suffer for doing what is right, you will receive a blessing. Don’t let them frighten you. Don’t be intimidated, 15-16 but exalt Him as Lord in your heart. Always be ready to offer a defense, humbly and respectfully, when someone asks why you live in hope. Keep your conscience clear so that those who ridicule your good conduct in the Anointed and say bad things about you will be put to shame.
I was leading a middle school missing trip to Washington, D.C. and I was with a small number of our group serving at a soup kitchen that served the homeless population of the city. This particular ministry, welcomed around 100 people every day around 11:30am, shared a short worship service and then provided lunch for everyone.
We arrived around 8:30am and started helping to prepare the meal for the day. In the midst of preparations, sometime after 11:00am, the director of the program came up to me and explained that the pre-meal service was lead each day by a different volunteer from the local religious community that supported the soup kitchen.
Each day a pastor, a lay leader or a group from a local church would come and lead the service for the ministry. At this point it is around 11:15, and he finally asks me, ‘do you know 1Peter 3:15?’ I remember responding, ‘not off the top of my head’. The director then said, ‘always be prepared to give account for the hope you have….. And I hope you are prepared, because our volunteers just called and aren’t going to make it today, so I need you to lead the service.’
I don’t remember much about what I actually said that day, and to be honest, I am sure most of the people there were much more interested in the food, than anything I had to say. But, because of that experience, I have never forgotten 1Peter 3:15.
It is definitely a good thing to spend some time thinking about what you might say if someone asks you why you live in hope and what that hope is in. But, today, I actually want us to think primarily about what has to happen to get to that point.
What I mean is, what might it look like to live in such a way that others felt compelled to ask you what it is that makes you different? What might it look like to live out a life of hope and faith so completely that people couldn’t help but ask how and why you are able to do it.
In the face of trouble – communal and personal – because of Jesus we can still live in hope. It is in those difficult times, like the ones we are now facing, that truly living in hope and trusting in Jesus will most clearly stand out.
The question for us, then is not so much ‘what will we say when someone asks us about our hope?’ but rather, ‘are we living in such a way that leads others to ask about the hope we have?’
Sharing God’s Love,
Prayer: Thank you, Lord Jesus, for the hope that we have in you. Help us to live into and live out that hope. Guide us on a path that causes those around us to see us, so that we might point to you. Amen.