Week of Monday, September 20 ­– Sunday, September 26
Good Hope – Man as a Chaplain
“You were dead in the trespasses and sins … But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved. . . .For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.”
 —Ephesians 2:1, 4-5, 10 ESV
Bartolomeu Dias was a brave Portuguese mariner and explorer. In fact, Dias was the first European navigator to round the southern tip of Africa in 1488. In the tumultuous ocean waters south of Africa, as he rounded the cape, his ship threatened to break into pieces. Making it through safely, he named that place the Cape of Storms. Despite Dias’s tumultuous experience, it was later renamed the Cape of Good Hope.
In Ephesians 2, Paul pointed out the hopeless situation we’re all in. It is even worse than what Dias experienced, feeling like his ship was lost in the mother of all storms. The difference is that this storm isn’t just threatening to break us into pieces, it already has. Left to ourselves, we are dead in sin, with no way out, no escape. Paul describes our lostness in such stark terms because it’s an important perspective to have. We need to understand our dilemma without Christ. Sin wrecks us. Our friends and family aren’t just “pretty bad off” because of sin—they’re dead in the water, without hope (v. 12). 
After a string of hopeless consequences resulting from sin (v. 1-3), Paul says in verse 4: “But God…” Don’t you love that? “But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us” brought us from death to life with Christ (v. 4-5). See, Jesus came to give us good hope. In Him, we can see through the raging storm to treasures ahead. And as God’s appointed Chaplains in this desperate, discouraged, hopeless world, we can help others see through the storm to the treasures ahead, too. This is the work God has prepared for us to do (v. 10). 
We don’t ignore the storm of sin in others’ lives; we help them see it the way it is. We don’t sit quietly by while people work in frustration and futility to find a way out of the storm; we tell them Jesus made a way where there is no way. We must be discerning in how we approach people who are struggling. They must see God’s love in us as we guide them through to an understanding that we were lost, but God found us. We were dead, but God brought us back to life. We were hopeless, but God restored our hope. When we realize what our gracious, merciful, and loving God has done for us, it changes everything. It should inspire us to redouble our efforts to help others see beyond the storms to the glorious eternity ahead with that loving God and call it what it is only in Christ—a life of good hope.
  • Do you tend to see people as “pretty bad off” in sin or as completely hopeless without Christ? Why does it matter? 
  • What would it look like for you to walk in the work God has prepared for you this week as a Chaplain? 
  • Thank God for sending Jesus to bring you from death to life. Ask Him to help you share with others this week the life of good hope He offers.