February 18, 2011
In light of life's tragedies, and even in the dissatisfaction that comes with daily life, people can feel discouraged and sink into despair, Odus Compton told OBU students during a weekly chapel service on Wednesday, Feb. 16. But God provides a heavenly perspective which gives people hope, he said.
Compton's message followed this year's chapel theme, "Unadorned: A Return to the Simplicity of the Gospel." The theme is based on the book "Mere Christianity" by C.S. Lewis. The message was part of OBU's annual "Focus Week," which is dedicated to helping members of the OBU community strengthen relationships with the theme, "Building Strong Relationships through Faith, Hope, Love and Forgiveness."
Compton, who serves as director of student ministry at OBU, said he recently encountered the hopelessness of earthly life as he attended two funerals in the last few months. He said many students probably experience hopelessness, too. He asked the students to imagine working diligently on their schoolwork for many years to receive a degree, only to learn later there would be no hope of graduation or completion. He said similar feelings of hopelessness discourage many people.
"Our problem is we count too much upon this life," Compton said. "We think the things here are going to satisfy."
He said people get caught up in planning the "right" education path, the "right' marriage, and the "right" career, thinking a perfect earthly life will ultimately satisfy a person -- but it doesn't.
"There's not a soul alive that's lived much life that does not realize those things don't ultimately satisfy you," Compton said.
Putting all one's hope in earthly things, even worthy things, still leaves a person "wanting," he said. Compton explained C.S. Lewis' assertion that Christians must look beyond this earth and what it offers to find true hope. While people are created with desires that need to be satisfied, being fully satisfied does not come from an earthly fulfillment.
Compton said even the things that do satisfy are merely only hinting at what ultimately satisfies. He said the marriage relationship is a symbol of satisfaction; while it is good and can provide some satisfaction, it simply illustrates the supreme union between the bride and Christ.
Rather than focus on the things of this world, Christians must be heavenly minded, he said. If Christians are to do any good, they must focus on God. He said Christians should follow Christ's example as He came from Heaven to work and do good, yet always lived with the intent of returning to Heaven.
"Our gaze is to be heavenly," Compton said.
He said if the focus of a Christian is heavenly, hope will abound. He referred to the biblical books of Jeremiah, Habakkuk and 1 Peter which tell about God's people living among destruction and turmoil. Despite their circumstances, their gaze was focused on God, and their hope was restored.
Compton urged Christians to not be easily satisfied with the things of this world, which will only leave a feeling of hopelessness. He said instead, Christians should constantly gaze on the things of heaven, where true satisfaction is found.