Those With No Hope Will Make No Plans

Strategic righteousness takes the initiative and dreams of how to make things right . . . Hope helps us dream. Hope helps us think up ways to do good.  Hope helps us pursue our ventures with virtue and integrity.  It’s hopelessness that makes people think they have to lie and steal and seize illicit pleasures for the moment.  But hope, based on the confidence that a sovereign God is for us, gives us a thrilling impulse that I call strategic righteousness.  We see it in Naomi in Ruth 3:1-5 . . .

People who feel like victims rarely make plans. As long as Naomi was oppressed, as long as she could only say, ‘The Amighty has dealt very bitterly with me,’ she conceived no strategy for the future.

One of the terrible effects of depression is the inability to move purposefully and hopefully into the future.  Strategies of righteousness are the overflow of hope.  When Naomi awakes in Ruth 2:20 to the kindness of God, her hope comes alive, and the overflow is strategic righteousness.  She is concerned about finding Ruth a place of provision and protection.  So she makes a plan.

One of the reasons we must help each other “hope in God” (Psalm 42:5) is that only hopeful people, hopeful families, and hopeful churches plan and strategize.

I feel a special calling to impart hope to the church I serve.  Churches that feel no hope develop a maintenance mentality and just go through the motions year in and year out.  But when a church feels the sovereign kindness of God hovering overhead and moving, hope starts to thrive, and righteousness ceases to be simply the avoidance of evil and becomes active and strategic.”

~ John Piper in A Sweet and Bitter Providence: Sex, Race and the Sovereignty of God, pp. 81-82.

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