As of late, our nation has been feeling so much uncertainty. Well, to be honest, current events have left HALF of the country feeling uncertain and the other HALF feeling a new found confidence. Regardless of which group you fall into, it has made me contemplate WHAT we put our trust in?
Do I feel uncertain because of circumstances? Do those who feel this new found confidence feel that way because they put their trust in politics, new leaders, a certain ideology? Not sure, but, what I do know is that WHAT we put our trust in is so incredibly important not just for our spiritual maturity but for our mental stability. I know, this sounds crazy but it’s true. If you put your trust in (a) man/woman or in things such as a house, car, finances—then you are bound to feel insecure when those things change or are lost.
The Bible has an awesome story which tries to help us reflect on what we put our trust in. Most of us are familiar with this story of the rich young ruler asking Jesus what he must do to gain eternal life. A summarized version of the story recounts how he tells Jesus he has followed the commandments and wants to know what else he needs to do. Then, Jesus asks him to give up his wealth and follow Him.
This is an interesting response. Why? Well, because Jesus is not creating a new condition for salvation. With this response, Jesus is gently pushing the rich young ruler into re-examination of his priorities, of the things he holds dear. This analysis allows the rich young ruler to see that he may love Jesus but not enough to give up his money.
Harsh? Maybe....but I don't think Jesus is vilifying money in this story. Conversely, I think that Jesus is asking us to re-examine what we put our TRUST in. What do we love? What is our heart's treasure? What can we not live without? What things make us feel safe? Are there any things in our life that would stop us from following Jesus if he asked us the same?
Again, I DON'T think this is a story against wealth. I just think it was a simple way of letting the rich young ruler see that he loved money more than Christ. Or, a softer interpretation would say that it was Jesus' way of showing the rich young ruler that he put his trust in his wealth instead of putting in in God. How do we interpret this? Well, we know this because when Jesus told the rich young ruler that all he had to do was give up ALL (not some, not most, but all) his money, he left sad. We can only assume his sadness was because he realized that was the ONE thing he was not ready to give up.
You know, I like this story and DISLIKE it. I appreciate how it pushes me to grow closer to God by really offering true surrender to Him. How does it do that--you ask? Well, it pushes me to surrender because it doesn't sugar coat our assessment of our priorities. It makes me really dig deep and ask myself if that were me in this story-- WHAT would Jesus have to ask me to give up to have me respond similarly. It pushes me to surrender because it helps me identify the things that I still may be keeping my trust in. Once I realize what those things are (because let's be honest, I know I have many), I can start the process of dethroning/de-prioritizing those things that offer me a confidence that only my trust in God should offer me.
I want to be real though and also say that, at the same time, this story frustrates me!! It frustrates the DAYLIGHTS out of me because I DON’T want to trust money more than God. But....I don't know how to give up my worry and my fears; it's the only way I know how to exist.
What I DO know is that I don't need to know HOW to surrender it all to Him, I just need to be willing...and that folks, I AM. I AM willing! Would you take a moment and reflect on what that would be in your life? I know for me, I would be in the company of the rich young ruler. Money robs me of peace many the times.
And....most recently, I have realized that I put an tremendous amount of trust in political leaders. That’s human and it’s even good to care about current events...but I won’t let it rob me of my peace. A better perspective is to stress less, trust God and to "cast my cares on him" (Psalm 55:22) and that I shall do! I know all this must sound like platitudes to some but they are eternal truths that until practiced, remain to be revealed to you as such. Practice casting your cares on God and you will be surprised AND relieved. I, myself, wasn't able to believe this eternal truth until God kept showing up for me when I did. God is not a god of persons (meaning individual people, He is a God of all)....He will show up for you too.
At the end of the day, I know that the only thing I want to put my trust in is God. So, if anything else has set up a throne like “trust in money” or "leaders," I'm happy to accept God's help to get it out.
Take a moment and reflect on what you put your trust in other than God and maybe let today be the first day that you practice letting Him take those worries away.