Trust in the Lord
3 My son, don’t forget my instruction. Let your heart guard my commands, 2 because they will help you live a long time and provide you with well-being. 3 Don’t let loyalty and faithfulness leave you. Bind them on your neck; write them on the tablet of your heart. 4 Then you will find favor and approval in the eyes of God and humanity. 5 Trust in the Lord with all your heart; don’t rely on your own intelligence. 6 Know him in all your paths, and he will keep your ways straight. 7 Don’t consider yourself wise. Fear the Lord and turn away from evil.Proverbs 3:1-7
Trust. Trust is a difficult thing for us humans. We always seem to revert back to trusting in ourselves the most. While that may work much of the time, it will always restrict us at some point because our understanding is always limited and incomplete. Throughout Scripture there is a recurring theme: Trust God. The “Fall” in Genesis is basically humans moving to trust themselves over God. The wandering of the Israelites in the desert was lengthened by a generation because there was a lack of trust. Jesus’s harshest criticism was against those who trusted in their own specific interpretations of Scripture more than trusting in God’s grace.
In our current season, distrust seems rampant. We seem unable to trust each other, let alone God. Distrust seems to be infecting the entire world. We see it in international, national, and church relations. We see it in our community and in our families. We often hear pious talk about trusting God, but actions prove otherwise. In the United Methodist Church, we seem to be in such a season as well. In our efforts to be faithful, we have diverging visions of what that looks like. So, we have been arguing, planning, and trusting in our own interpretations, intelligence, and cleverness. The sad result is that we seem to be trusting in God less, which ultimately increases our anxiety and our distrust of each other. In Seminary, I learned a hard lesson that our own interpretations are always limited and incomplete. We need other, often differing, voices to give depth, clarity, and balance to our understanding of Scripture.
In contrast to global dysfunction and distrust, look at what we are doing here in this church. We have been intentionally trying to focus on the world around us, and on the mission before us. The result is that our church is becoming more available and is being used more by the community. Our mission giving and support has grown to record levels, funding missionaries and incredibly important mission projects in South Hill and across the world. In our local economy, giving is at a record high with church income last year exceeding the budget for the first time in memory. Our attendance is beginning to pick up,
and visitors are coming back again and again. These all point to a healthy, thriving, church. We are proving that when we trust in the mission before us from Jesus of love, grace, and reconciliation, amazing things happen. Let this be an ongoing lesson for us.
We do not, nor cannot know what the future holds. I believe God will continue to lead us. I believe we need to trust in God’s guidance and in God’s vision. While we wait for decisions that ultimately will affect us, we need to carry on doing the work we have to do bringing God’s message of love and hope and salvation to the world around us. Let God’s grace transform us all to be more loving and trusting, learning to see others through God’s eyes more and more. Trust in the One who is worthy of trust.
Yours in Christ,