Our prayers for you are always spilling over into thanksgivings. We can't quit thanking God our Father and Jesus our Messiah for you! We keep getting reports on your steady faith in Christ, our Jesus, and the love you continuously extend to all Christians. The lines of purpose in your lives never grow slack, tightly tied as they are to your future in heaven, kept taut by hope. — Colossians 1:3-5a
I love this line, “the lines of purpose in your lives never grow slack…”
What draws me to it is this image that Peterson paints here of our purpose being tied into the future of heaven with hope pulling on them. This gives me some insight into this idea of purpose. Purpose is something that is important for us to have in our lives. When we feel purposeless then it makes it very hard to be content in our lives. When we lose a sense of purpose we can struggle with feelings of depression or apathy.
I love this idea that purpose is future oriented and pulled along by hope. I am finding that hope is often the animating force behind much of our actions. If we think a particular situation is hopeless then we give up. If we have hope, “a feeling of expectation and desire for a certain thing to happen"," then we are able to press on and push through problems and difficulties that arise.
It’s interesting to me that Peterson translates this passage the way he does. It’s a bit of a departure from the NIV but similar to the way the Common English Bible (CEB) and the NRSV render it. Which makes sense because this opening section of the letter is one gigantic sentence in the Greek. As a result there are any number of ways of making sense of the passage.
Speaking of the CEB check out its rendering, “We always give thanks to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, when we pray for you. We’ve done this since we heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and your love for all God’s people. You have this faith and love because of the hope reserved for you in heaven.”
What I like about the more literal translations is that we see more readily how faith and hope are tied together.
I recently heard someone define faith as “risk with a direction.” That resonated with me and even more so as I consider the role of hopeful expectation and purpose being tied together.
What if the direction of risk that we are called into is one of hope? What I mean to say is, could it be that the way we are to move about in this world is not as cynics but as ones who are filled with hope?
How different would this world look if you and I entered every interaction with others as one filled with hope?
To quote the great Louis Armstrong, “What a wonderful world it would be!”