May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. Romans 15:13
For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through endurance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope. Romans 15:4
Recently I was asked to teach on the topic of Christian leadership and the hope of heaven. That is a fascinating combination of concepts, two that I had never put together before. Though I have thought much and deeply about heaven over many years as I was writing my book on heaven, The Glory Now Revealed, I had never directly connected those doctrinal insights with Christian leadership. At first I was nonplussed, not really knowing how to force the square peg into the round hole.
But then I read Romans 15:13, and everything became clear to me. The key phrase was “overflow with hope.” I realized that Christian leaders must be a source of hope to all that follow them. Hope gives energy, power, drive, motivation for any great work, any big game, any arduous journey, any great battle. Without hope, laborers flag out, athletes give up, pioneers go back home, and warriors surrender. But the scriptures were written to teach us truth that is the basis of solid hope. And that hope is of a guaranteed future, one that is exceedingly bright with glory.
"We are to drink in the river of hope available to us in scripture and then overflow with hope to the people around us."
Therefore, it is vital for Christian leaders to set their hearts continually on heaven, as Paul commands in Colossians 3:1-4. We are to drink deeply in the truths of the New Heaven and New Earth and the New Jerusalem as described in Revelation 21-22, taking to heart the words that are written there: "The angel said to me, 'These words are trustworthy and true. The Lord, the God of the spirits of the prophets, sent his angel to show his servants the things that must soon take place. And behold, I am coming soon! Blessed is he who keeps the words of the prophecy in this book.'" Revelation 22:6-7
Because the descriptions of heaven in Revelation 21-22 are trustworthy and true, and because these things must soon take place, Jesus wants us to read and to keep the words of the prophecy in Revelation. We are to drink in the river of hope available to us in scripture and then overflow with hope to the people around us. Christian leaders who can’t stop speaking of the delights of heaven and the glories of God that will be revealed to us all there will have the greatest impact on others and make the greatest impact on the flow of history as a result.
So, Christian leader, be filled with the doctrine of heaven so you can overflow with hope to those around you!