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Rick Hathaway challenges us to use our time to effectively apply the power of God's love.

Think of what life would be like without hope.
• Hope keeps us going when the situation we face seems impossible.
• Hope is the expectation that we will obtain something specific we desire.
• Hope is there for the single mom who doesn't know how she is going to feed her children and keep a roof over their heads. She might give up if it were not for the hope that some type of breakthrough is right around the corner.
• Hope is a gift from God that can bring joy in the midst of very difficult circumstances. Hope encourages us that victory is imminent.

In spite of how wonderful, important and life-changing both faith and hope are, they pale in comparison with the simple power of love. Scripture tells us that love is greater than both faith and hope (1 Corinthians 13:13).

Habitat for Humanity is gifted by God as a simple yet powerful expression of love. I feel so very fortunate to have seen God showering love on Habitat supporters as they toil to raise money, select families, recruit volunteers and build houses. Some of the most powerful expressions of love I have seen in this ministry have come from the hearts of homeowners. We can only imagine the hopelessness they have experienced, the despair — and sometimes hatred — that has gripped their lives as they struggled simply to survive.

Yet, so many times, those we are blessed to work with offer a wide smile, even while the world around them is filled with uncertainty, and they face challenges beyond what many of us could tolerate. I expect that this strength to carry on also fuels the overwhelming gratefulness they express when God blesses them with a new home.

Those in the middle of severe poverty retain and demonstrate the power of love in ways that can be inspiring to each one of us — and to a complicated world. Our opportunity is to recognize and be attentive to the blessing God is giving us as we work with people who have much more experience in turning hopelessness into happiness through the power of love.

Dear Lord, we thank You for the work You give us in this ministry and pray You will use our time to effectively apply the simple power of Your love — wherever we are and amid whomever You may lead us to meet. Help us to always be open to learn from those we seek to serve. Amen.

1. Think of a Habitat homeowner or volunteer who amazed you with a sense of hope and love. Share that story with others.
2. How do you think God uses Habitat to teach us about faith, hope and love?
3. How do you think the poor are able to demonstrate graciousness and love in the midst of poverty and substandard housing? Consider first of all those who are Christians; then consider those who are of other faiths.
4. Think of times when you have seen people in need but did not stop and talk or respond because you considered yourself too busy. Discuss how we can change our attitudes from one of clutter and complexity to one of applying the power of love more effectively and naturally — as a blessing.

By Rick Hathaway, Vice President of Asia/Pacific for Habitat for Humanity International

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