By Earl Palmer

"It is true that there is a silly, cowardly kind of optimism, which we must condemn. But optimism that is will for future should never be despised, even if it is proved wrong a hundred times; it is health and vitality, and the sick man has no business to impugn it." – Dietrich Bonhoeffer, 1943

Bonhoeffer is right because he is grasped by the gospel of Jesus Christ. When we experience Christ's love, the first change in us is a contagious and healthy will for the future. We know that God's powerful love can forgive human sins and resolve even the most complicated human crisis. Therefore, beginning with our own repentance and discovery of grace, we begin to invest our lives in making a difference in the lives around us.

The longer I live, the more certain I am that cynics who major in saying how corrupt everything and everyone is are not the people who make a good difference, though they may intensify our awareness of the crises. The people who change the world for good have a healthy will for the future because God's love is at work in their lives.

What a time to be alive! Right in front of us we have chances to create a real difference by simple and direct person-to-person investments in hope; these investments added together make the survivalists with hoards of gold and secret collections of assault weapons look foolish because they wagered on despair. They joined up with the illness, not with the health.

Bonhoeffer penned another sentence in a letter from prison that puts it best of all:

"I want to live every day as if it were my last and every day as if there were a great future."

Think and pray

Many of you remember a song popular in church children’s ministries: “This is the day that the Lord has made, let us rejoice and be glad in it.” Let’s look for opportunities today to appreciate what is good.

Father, let my words and actions today give testimony to the hope I have in you. You are still on your throne, you are working in the lives of men and women, and you’ve called me to be an ambassador of that hope. Find me faithful to your call. Amen.


By Earl Palmer is a former Senior Pastor of University Presbyterian Church in Seattle. Published by The High Calling, February 27, 2015. Theology of Work Project Online Materials by The High Calling are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.