A gift must not only be given, it must also be received. One that is given freely in love is stewarded, kept and appreciated deeply. When we give gifts to those whom we love, often the meaning and value lies in where the gift is coming from and what the gift is pointing to. It is meant to be an outward-focused expression of an internal desire to give and serve. Unfortunately, we are so easily wired to work for rewards and earn status, which breeds a culture of receiving that is self-centered rather than one that liberates us to freely give as we have been given.
What we have is not ours to keep . . .
As believers looking ahead to celebrating Easter soon, we celebrate the ultimate gift that takes our eyes off ourselves: the gift of Jesus. The gift of Jesus places our gaze on Him. In His life, death and resurrection, we are given the opportunity to receive the everlasting joy that will continue to overflow in our hearts in order to be poured out into others. Similarly, this dream of Hope Forward is one that is meant to emulate characteristics of the gospel. Hope Forward works to take our eyes off ourselves and point them towards others — an acknowledgment that what we have is not ours to keep and hold on to, but to give. It is not a program or scholarship that is looking for people who solely excel academically, have an impressive résumé or meet a tangible list of qualifications. Rather, Hope Forward focuses on those who seek to lead by serving and live to love in order to point to something greater. It is a scholarship based on character and love for a vision that is rooted in scripture.
As a follower of Jesus, I walk and accept a life that allows me to think less about myself wherein I am saved and covered because of what He has done for me. I am now freely walking in and working to glorify Jesus from that salvation and not for it. Likewise, I am given Hope Forward as a gift to think of myself less, both financially and mentally, as I steward my education well so that I can pour back into others who would continue to do the same. I go to college with an assurance that I am covered along with a glad responsibility to give back by passionately pursuing my dream to be a doctor who cares for his patients as much as he cares for the sciences. President Scogin once described this mission of Hope Forward as functioning like a church, wherein it is free for all to access and enter because of the gratitude and generosity of those who have received and open-heartedly give back. The beauty in this is that Hope Forward is not a momentary project but rather a continuously unfolding story. We see this in the reality of Easter that is easily forgotten. Easter is not limited to one day of the year. We continue to celebrate it and walk in its redemption day by day. Hope Forward is not meant to end after four years of college, it is one that extends for a lifetime.