Agents of Hope
Swede Ingmar Bergman told a story about a knight named Antonius Block who
kneels in front of a confessional to confess his sins. He does not realize
until later that he is talking to Deatha shadowy, robed
characterrather than a priest. Block declares that he is seeking not
faith, not suppositions, but knowledge.
"I want," he says, "God to stretch out His hand toward me, reveal Himself,
and speak to me."
Death says back that perhaps there is no God, that there is only nothing.
"Then," says Block, "life is an outrageous horror. No one can live in the
face of death, knowing that all is nothingness."
Today millions live in the face of such nothingness.
They have no faith in God, no hope in anything past the world around them.
No wonder, then, that so many focus on the comforts of this life, seeking
solace in pleasure and the various worldly distractions. The Christian
faithwhich calls upon us to "fix our eyes not on what is seen, but
on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is
Cor. 4:18, NIV)is foreign to them.
As Christians, we are God's agents to bring these people hope, to show that
there is a God who loves and cares for them, to show that although life has
many outrageous horrors, it is not ultimately an outrageous horror but that
God will finally make all things right.
The Bible gives us many inspirational stories of God's agents of hope. In
this quarter's lessons we will focus on some of these outstanding missionaries;
on whom they were and what they did in seeking to bring others to a saving
knowledge of the Lord of salvation.
Ellen G. White tells the story of a man nearly chilled to death in deep snow.
He was about to give up struggling for his life when he heard the moans from
a fellow traveler nearby. His first impulse was to rescue the other man.
When he found him, he rubbed the man's frozen limbs. He finally got him to
his feet and carried him through the drifts to safety.
Then "the truth flashed home to him that in saving his neighbor he had saved
himself also" by quickening "the blood which was freezing in his own
veins."Testimonies for the Church, vol. 4, p. 319.
The point? A healthy church is a church focused on mission to others. Sharing
God's love with the community brings fresh life and energy into the church.
It would be a mistake this quarter to study these biblical agents as interesting
historical figures and leave it at that. Rather, we need to catch the inspiration
of their lives and focus on our mission to this dying world. There is nothing
more refreshing, or more life-giving, than reaching out to others.
Our prayer is that this quarter's lessons on biblical agents of hope will
lead us into a renewed commitment to share God's love with our neighbors
and friends and in mission fields around the world. In so doing, we may just
find that we have entered into a whole new dimension in our Christian lives.
Gary Krause, an Australian born to missionary parents in Fiji, is director
of the Office of Adventist Mission at the General Conference. He is married
to Bettina, and they have one daughter, Bethany Grace.
(all lessons may
School Study Helps
Jerry Giardina of Pecos, Texas, assisted by his wife, Cheryl,
prepares a series of helps to accompany the Sabbath School lesson. He includes
all related scripture and most EGW quotations. Jerry has chosen the "New
King James Version" of the scriptures this quarter. It is used with permission.
The study helps are provided in three wordprocessing
RTF for our MAC friends (this is now a
zip file); and HTML (Web Pages).
Last updated on July 2, 2008
12501 Old Columbia Pike, Silver Spring, MD 20904.
Clifford R. Goldstein
Soraya Homayouni Parish
Lea Alexander Greve
Pacific Press Coordinator
Paul A. Hey
Art and Design
Copyright © 2008 by the Office of the Adult Bible Study
Guide, General Conference of Seventh-day Adventist. All Rights Reserved.
SSNET Web Site Home page
Directory of Sabbath School
Bible Study materials
Archive of previous Adult
Sabbath School Bible Study Guides
Prepared for the Internet by the SSNET Web