Belief and Trust: A Bible Study for Asbury's Worship
(August 22 & 23)
by Rev. Lee Johnson
august 22, 2020
Jean Francois Gravelet (aka Charles Blondin), a French-born tightrope walker, first trekked the 1,100 feet across the Niagara Falls on June 30, 1859. He would repeat the feat numerous times, with theatrical additions: blindfolded, in a sack, on stilts. Each time the Niagara River and Lake Ontario were 160 feet below. Once, he pushed a wheelbarrow on a tightrope as more than 1,000 fans applauded. Afterwards, Gravelet told the crowd, “I will return to the other side, but carry another person in the wheelbarrow,” asking, “Who among you believe I can do it?” Shouts of affirmation were heard. “Now,” said Gravelet, “If you believe I can do it, who will volunteer?” Total silence. The crowd had reason to believe, he had just crossed from one side. But, no one stepped up to trust what they believed, offering to ride the wheelbarrow back. What, do you suppose made the difference between belief and trust?
In Matthew 6.25-34, Jesus says, “Do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink.” Then, he names the many ways God takes care of God’s creation, the birds, the flowers: “They neither sow, store, nor reap.” Yet, says Jesus, “God provides, and how much more God will provide for you.” In his book, The Sin of Certainty, Peter Enns points out it is one thing to believe the promises Jesus makes in Matthew 6.25-34, it’s another to trust them. I suspect, most of us believe what Jesus says. But, do we live in ways that trust his promises? Interestingly, Jesus prefaces Mathew 6.25-34 by telling the crowd, “No one can serve two masters. You cannot serve God and wealth.” Rightfully so, Jesus knew our human condition: not having enough drives our worry. How difficult is it for you to trust Jesus’ promise in Matthew 6.25-34 so as not to worry?
Bottom line, Jesus is forever asking his believers to trust him with their lives, using different examples. In Matthew 6.25-34, it is wealth. Of course, there is the bottom line final example: In May, after spending the final days of her life unable to communicate, my mother died. Knowing I would not return until Saturday morning, on Thursday night I kissed my mother good-bye, saying, “If I don’t see you Saturday, I will see you in eternity.” It was the right thing to say, name what you were taught to believe, probably in Sunday School. Amazingly, she raised her eyebrows as though to say, “Yes." Was a simple raising of my mother’s eyebrows God’s way of moving me beyond right belief to trust? Or, could it be explained away as an involuntary movement, only a coincidence? What do you think? Has God ever worked to move you to trust? If so, how?
It can be difficult to trust God, especially if you’ve spent time waiting for God to show up – and you’re certain God let you down. Why, believing is much more safe. Peter Enns says, “Trusting God is an all-in surrender to your ego.” Yet, for most of us, a surrender to trust doesn’t happen all at once. It’s something we “lean into,” as we piece together our life experiences. Peter Enns calls it the “Jesus Trust Fall.” Now, that’s something to lean into. Can you recall some life experiences, that when pieced together, move you deeper into trust?
Asbury's Weekend Worship: https://www.visitasbury.org/worship/
Beginning Saturday, August 22 at 5:00 pm
"Help me lean into trusting you, God."