Welcome to Banbury Evangelical Free Church

Banbury Evangelical Free Church was founded in 1984, as a Bible-based, Christ-centred congregation seeking to proclaim the everlasting gospel of Jesus Christ and to serve Christ in every aspect of our lives, both as individuals and together.

Monday, 22 November 2010

What hope for the future?

At a dinner function at my old College last week, I found myself seated near a Japanese academic. He is a delightful man and an excellent conversationalist. One interesting observation he made during the evening was whereas surveys in many far Eastern countries indicate a high level (85-95%) of optimism over the future, in Japan this is far from being the case (15%). The way he explained it, it seems that Japan’s economic successes have meant that materially many of the people are very comfortable. But the comfort has not brought them lasting satisfaction; and the current much more uncertain times economically – and the rapid rise of competition from other countries such as China – means that many can see no prospect but decline.

How accurate those forebodings are remain to be seen – and indeed, it is possible that I have put my own interpretation on the tutor’s comments! But to me his analysis certainly drew powerful attention to the fact that, not only can money not bring happiness, but it can give no hope for the future either. Solomon’s words, written almost 3,000 years ago have a timeless quality to them: “Will you set your eyes on that which is not? For riches certainly make themselves wings; they fly away like an eagle toward heaven” (Proverbs 23.5). The words of the Lord Jesus in the Sermon on the Mount are equally apposite: “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal; but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” (Matthew 6.19-21)