But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear..1 Peter 3:15
A monger is simply someone who deals in a commodity, like a beer-monger, a fish-monger. In modern times it’s taken on a slightly darker tone as in one prone to mischief or stirring up trouble, but basically it is simply someone who deals in a commodity.
Hope itself is a difficult word to define, it means “a feeling of expectation and desire for a certain thing to happen, a feeling of trust.” Hope is closely entwined with a sense of order, an expectation of justice. Faith itself is dependent on hope, Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. -Hebrews 1:11
We as Christians are called to be hope mongers, as in the business of handling this rare and precious commodity, dealing in and doling out hope. You can even add an element of stirring up trouble or making mischief if you like, as long as your “mischief” is aligned with God’s will. “Stirring up trouble,” as in stirring up some hope.
Some people who have been fairly comfortable in the world, don’t understand how precious hope is, how closely it is entwined with justice and trust. When one has a reasonable expectation that there will be some order in the chaos, an assurance that if I invest myself and follow this path it will payoff, it can be very easy to take that state of being for granted, to assume that is how everyone else walks in the world.
Many, many people do not have that, instead there is learned helplessness, assumed injustice, an expectation of unfairness. It’s a dark and lonely place to be, one where you can keenly observe that you do not reap what you sow like many others do. Hope becomes a pie in the sky idea, an annoyance almost. Hope doesn’t put food on the table, it doesn’t keep the lights on, and it doesn’t cure addiction or domestic violence or whatever plague ails you. In fact, “hope” often makes all those things worse, as in the hope that next time it will be better, the hope that you can handle everything yourself, all false hopes that can keep you trapped longer than necessary.
Hope is a delicate matter. I have seen so much hope mishandled, so many broken promises, so many pretty words poured out but soon forgotten. I know what it’s like to walk in the world with an expectation of injustice, a lack of trust, an unwillingness to hope, an inability to place your faith in much of anything.
We as Christians are flat out called to deal in hope, to be a beacon of light for others. Jesus Christ is the hope of the world. Even those of us who know Him will sometimes struggle with a lack of hope. That is when all of us are called to become His hands and feet, to kindle hope, like one kindles a fire.