Little Hope Church
Little Hope Church
by Joe Fitch
The sign points down a lane to the right of the country road. Its faded letters say simply LITTLE HOPE CHURCH. I am amused and cannot help thinking of its implications. I know nothing about the church down that lane nor why it bears that name. I am acquainted with the LITTLE HOPE CHURCH. I have preached there several times. However, they were not frank enough to put it on their sign.
Hope is essentially expectation, the anticipation of good things to come. It is deeply rooted in faith. Without faith there is no hope. Hope is the fruit of settled confidence and conviction. Promises assuredly accepted produce hope. The LITTLE HOPE CHURCH is also a little faith church.
The LITTLE HOPE CHURCH expects God to do little if anything for them in this world. "Seek ye first the kingdom... and all these things shall be added unto you"(Mt. 6:33). LITTLE HOPE BIBLE CLASS immediately responds that a man must care for himself. True, but they seem to say this to deny Jesus' promise. No one mentions God's part in "adding things." They do not believe the assurance; they expect nothing from Him. Notice them tugging at their own bootstraps?
The LITTLE HOPE CHURCH does not really expect the sick to get well because of prayer, nor the drought breaking rain to come as a result of their petition. They read but hardly believe James, "The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much"(5:16). Elijah is a case. "...he prayed...it rained not." Nothing obvious, but God at work. "He prayed again, and the heaven gave rain." God upholds operates and maintains this world by his powerful word (Heb.1:3). I wonder why the LITTLE HOPE CHURCH abandoned their prayer meetings?
LITTLE HOPE CHURCH is pessimistic about converting people. "No point in talking to these people, they are not interested." "No way to convert men like in times past." They quote, but hardly believe Rom.1:16, the gospel is God's power to save men. Nor do they have confidence in "I planted, Apollos watered; but God gave the increase"(1Cor. 3:6).
LITTLE HOPE folk think little of the general principle “as you sow, you reap.” Farmers who expect a good harvest plow and plant a lot. I almost forgot LITTLE HOPE'S gospel meeting has been cancelled. Also, the personal work group will no longer meet.
The LITTLE HOPE CHURCH confidently expects little in regard to eternity. They are embarrassed and shattered when a friend asks, "Are you going to heaven?" They stutter and stammer. "Well!!..."
Blame some of this on modesty, but hope is still seriously wanting. Paul was sure of a crown "laid up for me" and "for all who love his appearing"(2 Tim. 4:8). Those who believe in the Lord confidently expect the reward he promised.
The preacher at LITTLE HOPE says brethren there will not sacrifice much to achieve spiritual goals. He is puzzled. He wants some help conducting funerals. He says they are the most dreadful he has ever seen. (1Ths.4:13 - “But we do not want you to be uninformed brethren, about those who are asleep, so that you will not grieve as do the rest who have no hope”)