Virtue of the Week: Hope

Hope and the PromiseHOPE AND THE PROMISE

Each and every “transformation” of a human being starts with a change in their heart. They put on a “new” man or woman. The change in their heart is more often than not, initiated by a “promise” made to them by someone else. One of my favorite quotes is, “ A real leader kindles the vision of a breathtaking future so as to justify the sacrifice of a transitory present. “ That’s making a promise (kindling a vision). We are promised that if we can maintain hope, keep the faith, and endure the sacrifices of this presently unbearable situation, when we come out the other end, we will have a rich reward…Glory.

We come to not only believe in that promise, but to treasure it. People with weak wills have a hard time continuing to treasure a promise. It is easy for them to break faith, be distracted by worldly enticements, believe the cries of other weak willed people, lose focus on the promise, lose hope and stray. People with weak wills need constant encouragement.

The more you look around, the more it seems as though we live in a world with no hope. Our faith in the promises of our leaders is waning. Quite often, our leaders don’t even make promises anymore because they know that they will have a hard time fulfilling the promise.

It was once said that leaders are simply “dealers in hope”. So we have to ask all the leaders out there, every coach, every teacher, every pastor, every administrator, every manager, every politician, everyone who leads others……. What promise are you making to your follower’s that kindles in their hearts the vision of a breathtaking future so beautiful that it justifies the sacrifices of the transitory and painful present they are living in? How are you building hope?

What promise is motivating our teenagers to build their characters, excel academically, and graduate from high school?

What promise is motivating our teachers to teach enthusiastically and with inexhaustible patience towards students?

What promise is motivating company employees to work hard, sacrifice, and put the company first?

What promise, made by a politician that you supported, has stirred your heart so much so that you treasure it?

If you want to really build hope in the people around you, make them a promise that they will believe and treasure in their hearts so deeply that they will be willing to make today’s sacrifices for tomorrow’s rewards.

It’s up to you to paint the picture!


The Cracked PotTHE CRACKED POT

A water bearer in India had two large pots, each hung on each end of a pole which he carried across his neck. One of the pots had a crack in it, and while the other pot was perfect and always delivered a full portion of water at the end of the long walk from the stream to the master’s house, the cracked pot arrived only half full.

For a full two years this went on daily, with the bearer delivering only one and a half pots full of water to his master’s house. Of course, the perfect pot was proud of its accomplishments, perfect to the end for which it was made. But the poor cracked pot was ashamed of its own imperfections, and miserable that it was able to accomplish only half of what it had been made to do. After two years of what it perceived to be a bitter failure, it spoke to the water bearer one day by the stream.

“I am ashamed of myself, and I want to apologize to you.”

“Why?” asked the bearer. “What are you ashamed of?”

“I have been able, for these past two years, to deliver only half my load because this crack in my side causes water to leak out all the way back to your master’s house. Because of my flaws, you have to do all of this work, and you don’t get full value from your efforts,” the pot said.

The water bearer felt sorry for the old cracked pot, and in his compassion he said, “As we return to the master’s house, I want you to notice the beautiful flowers along the path.”

Indeed, as they went up the hill, the old cracked pot took notice of the sun warming the beautiful wild flowers on the side of the path, and this cheered it some. But at the end of the trail, it still felt bad because it had leaked out half its load, and so again it apologized to the bearer for its failure.

The bearer said to the pot, “Did you notice that there were flowers only on your side of your path, but not on the other pot’s side?

That’s because I have always known about your flaw, and I took advantage of it. I planted flower seeds on your side of the path, and every day while we walk back from the stream, you’ve watered them.

For two years I have been able to pick these beautiful flowers to decorate my master’s table. Without you being just the way you are, he would not have this beauty to grace his house.”


Where's the PonyWHERE’S THE PONY?

There were once two identical twins. They were alike in every way but one. One was a hope-filled optimist who only ever saw the bright side of life. The other was a dark pessimist, who only ever saw the down side in every situation.

The parents were so worried about the extremes of optimism and pessimism in their boys they took them to the Doctor. He suggested a plan. “On their next birthday give the pessimist a shiny new bike, but give the optimist only a pile of manure.”

It seemed a fairly extreme thing to do. After all the parents had always treated heir boys equally. But in this instance they decided to try to Doctor’s advice. So when the twins birthday came round they gave the pessimist the most expensive, top of the range, racing bike a child has ever owned. When he saw the bike his first words were, “I’ll probably crash and break my leg.”

To the optimist they gave a carefully wrapped box of manure. He opened it, looked puzzled for a moment, then ran outside screaming, “You can’t fool me! Where there’s this much manure, there’s just gotta be a pony around here somewhere!”


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