8 Sunday A - Don't Worry about Tomorrow - Homilies

Fr. Bill Grimm's Video Message at the bottom
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Opening Story:

When I hear Jesus tell us to trust God, I think of the German philosopher and Carmelite contemplative, Edith Stein. Brought up in a pious Jewish household at the end of the nineteenth century, as a young woman she stopped believing in God. A brilliant mind, Edith excelled in philosophy. One evening she picked up a book by St. Therese of Lisieux. She spent the entire night reading it and in the morning she believed not only in God, but in Jesus and his Church. It was not a passing emotion. At great personal cost she became a Catholic.

When the Nazi persecution of Jews began, she could have gone to America, as did most of her family. Edith, however, felt called to become a Carmelite Sister - like St. Therese. She eventually wound up in a convent in Holland. When the Nazis took over that country in 1940, they registered all Jews, including those who had become Christians. In July of 1942, the Dutch bishops protested the persecution of Jews - and on July 20, they had a letter read from all Catholic pulpits.

On August 2, the Nazis retaliated by rounding up all the Jewish Catholics on their register - including priests and sisters of Jewish background. They came to the convent of Edith Stein - now Sister Teresa Benedicta of the Cross. Her sister, Rosa, was also there - she had become a Third Order Carmelite. The Gestapo gave them thirty minutes to gather clothes and three days food. Edith was calm, but Rosa was high strung. One of the Carmelite Sisters heard Edith say, "Komm, wir gehen für unser Volk!" Come, Rosa, we are going for our people. After the bureaucratic formalities, they were put on a train for Auschwitz. Fr. Bob Barron narrates how at a stop someone recognized Sister Teresa. She said, "We are going to the east." On August 9, 1942, Edith, her sister, Rosa, and about 100 other Jewish Catholics from Holland were murdered with poisonous gas. Their ashes are buried in a mass grave.

Edith Stein - St. Therese Blessed by the Cross - is a remarkable witness to trust in God in the midst of confusion, hatred and terrible suffering. As we enter Lent this Wednesday, let's take her words, "We are going to the east." The east is Jerusalem, the place where Jesus suffered, died, then rose from the dead.

We have been working these past four Sundays toward a synthesis. The Sermon on the Mount, Jesus' core teaching, helps us to do that because it calls us to trust God - and because of that trust, to do good works with love - because God first loves us. We see that love in Jesus, in the cross.

None of us, please God, will face suffering and humilliation so terrible as Edith Stein. Still as we enter Lent, like her - St. Teresa Blessed by the Cross - we do say, "We are going to the east." Amen. (Fr. Phil Bloom) 

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Thomas O’Loughlin
Introduction to the Celebration

Our first, absolutely fundamental, most important belief is that God has shown his love in creating the universe, the world we live in, and us. If we did not believe this, then everything else we say or do or think would be meaningless. We gather here to be united with Jesus our Saviour, but if we did not believe that God created us and loves us, we would be foolish to talk about him sending his Son to bring us the fullness of life! Yet everyday we forget that we are made by God, that our lives and our world are his gifts. We behave as if we were the lords of life and the lords of creation, and all around us we see the misery, suffering and destruction that this greed and these mistaken notions about our status in creation cause us. Today we remind ourselves of another way of living with one another and with the creation: the way of trustfulness, appreciations and caring. 

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Michel de Verteuil
General comments


This Sunday’s text is in two parts.

The first issue raised in today’s passage is stated in verse 24. The text reminds us that we need to make a choice in life, and decide what is the most important thing we need to be truly succeessful. Which of two loyalties are we going to be bound by – is it the God we believe in,  or is it money, which, as the bible explains, is the source of all that is evil in the world?

We look at the world as we see it. We have to make our choice. If we decide that God is first, then we will have a choice on what really counts. If money is our first choice, then things will be very different. What is the most important thing in my life? What counts more than all others for me?

Giving ourselves fully to what we believe in will involve a certain amount of money – but  how much is really necessary? 
- How do I ensure that I do well myself, I who have my own special needs and shortcomings to look after?
- How do I make sure that all is well not only for me but for my spouse or partner?
- How do I make sure that my children will have the best possible opportunities?
- How can I help my friends and other people I know to be the best that they can be, taking all aspects of life into consideration?
- How can I contribute to my society and to the world as best as I can, materially and spiritually? I must of course, know my limitations, but I could surely do more.

The second part of the passage is in verses 25 to 32, reminding us that we must choose between the presence of God and our own security.  With God we will be free to do what we want, he will look after us.

We take the birds in the sky as an example. “They do not sow or reap or gather into barns, and yet our heavenly Father feeds them”. And “are we not worth much more than they are?” Can we of our own accord add anything, even “one single cubit,” to our span of life?

And why worry about our clothing?  We look at the flowers which grow in the fields – they never have to work nor to spin. Yet  not even Solomon in all his regalia was robed like one of these.

If that is how God clothes the grass in the fields, that are there today and thrown in the furnace tomorrow, will he not look after us, we who are people of very little faith.

We need not worry therefore. We do not need to ask questions like: what are we to eat?
what are we to drink? how are we to be clothed? It is unbelieving pagans who set their hearts on all these things. Our heavenly Father knows we need them all.

We must therefore set our hearts on two things. There is first of all, the very fact of God’s Kingdom. Then there is “his righteousness” and everything that means for us. Once we can look at these things, then everything else will be given us as well.

Jesus draws two conclusion: do not worry about tomorrow, tomorrow will take care of itself. The second is also very simple: each day has enough trouble for us to worry about.
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John Litteton
Gospel Reflection


It is common today to meet people who are anxious about the future. They talk about planning their lives, their career plans and their holiday plans — often stretching forward for years to cover every possible situation. Usually, they are also quite worried about financial and other material considerations.

Yet Jesus taught his disciples not to worry about such matters. He went as far as saying that nobody can serve both God and wealth: ‘No one can be the slave of two masters: he will either hate the first and love the second, or treat the first with respect and the second with scorn’ (Mt 6:24). The question for us, then, is: Which of the two do we love — God or wealth?

Wealth comprises money, property and all material things. If our lives and plans are centred around how much money we have, or our position on the property ladder, then we are not living in accordance with Jesus’ teaching.

He taught clearly and with great beauty that we are not to worry about material things: ‘That is why I am telling you not to worry about your life and what you are to eat, nor about your body and how you are to clothe it. Surely life means more than food, and the body more than clothing! Look at the birds in the sky. They do not sow or reap or gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not worth much more than they are?’ (Mt 6:25-26).

That is one reason why we trust in God’s providence. He will provide for all our needs. But there is another important reason, according to Jesus, why it is futile — and unchristian — to worry about material things: ‘Can any of you, for all his worrying, add one single cubit to his span of life?’ (Mt 6:27). Then again, in one of the most moving passages of scripture, Jesus taught: ‘Think of the flowers growing in the fields; they never have to work or spin; yet I assure you that not even Solomon in all his regalia was robed like one of these’ (Mt 6:28-29).

These words of Jesus about the providence of God are very powerful. They help us to recognise how far many of us have moved from placing the realm of the spiritual at the centre of our lives. Increasing numbers of people go along with the modern mindset where money, property and careers — wealth — have become more important than God. Jesus described this materialism as lack of faith: ‘Now if that is how God clothes the grass in the field which is there today and thrown into the furnace tomorrow, will he not much more look after you, you people of little faith?’ (Mt 6:30).

The essence of genuine Christian living is to place our lives in the hands of God. We are continually invited to listen to Jesus’ exhortation not to worry about material things, which rot, die and can be replaced. We certainly cannot take them with us when we leave this world, and so it is foolish to worry about them.

God our Father knows our every need. This is what Jesus said: ‘Set your hearts on [the Father’sj kingdom first, and on his righteousness, and all these other things will be given you as well’ (Mt 6:33). It is pointless to waste time worrying about tomorrow when we know that ‘tomorrow will take care of itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own’ (Mt 6:34).

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Homily notes

1.We humans are prone to two constant faults.

2. The first of these is that we get so absorbed with the immediate and the instantaneous, that we loose sight of long term goals. We confuse the imminent with the important. That this is a major problem for people can easily be seen: just look at the number of management consultants that are out there helping companies find their ‘long-term strategic aims’ or look at the number of ‘lifestyle consultants’ who offer to train people (for a price) ‘to prioritise’. Not confusing the issues of today with our overall goals is one of the aspects of wisdom (or as the Jerusalem Bible translates it: ‘sensible’).

3. The second fault is that we tend to become so infatuated with outward appearances that we ignore the reality of situations. The proof of this is the amount of energy and money that it spent on promoting a good ‘image’; and there is no shortage of ‘image consultants’ as a subsection of marketing consultants. How many people in the assembly have felt cheated by the reality of a product because they were attracted by a slick website? When we know that we can be so easily distracted by appearances, it is important that we have regular ‘reality checks’ just so that we are not falling into the trap of believing our own propaganda. This link between the inner person and the other person is at the heart of integrity. We have cap­tured that nugget of wisdom in the saying: ‘The habit does not make the monk.’

4. The gospel today is a call to have a reality check. To look at what is really important in our lives: this is building on rock.

5. It is easy to have the appearances of religion and all the professional panoply of religion: speaking in the Lord’s name; prophesying in the Lord’s name; casting out demons. It is much harder to contribute to building the civilisation of justice, peace, and love.

6. One of the problems of preaching is that there is no one in the assembly today who is not aware of more than a decade of clerical scandals, possible cover-ups, and attempts at protecting the institutions of religion given priority over helping victims. That such problems have undermined the integrity of preaching the gospel is undeniable. Therefore, the preacher must make himself the first recipient of the call of today’s gospel and make that explicit. As the examples chosen by Jesus make clear: no group is more prone to deceive themselves about their integrity before God than religious professionals.

7. Reality checks are never easy. Making the changes that take place after such a check is also hard. But we do not engage in this process alone: the Spirit of God moves within us to lead us into the truth, strengthening us/ and purifying us.
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Gospel Prayer:

“Non-aggressive physically, but dynamically aggressive spiritually.”    Martin Luther King

Lord, we thank you that you have put before us our double loyalty, to you or to money.
Help us, Lord, to keep our values straight so that we can make the right decisions.

“You must wait for the eye of the soul to be formed in you.
Religious truth is reached, not by reasoning but by inward perception.
Any one can reason; only disciplined, educate formed minds can perceive.”     John Henry Newman

We thank you for what you have done for us.
We think of the birds of the air and the grass in the fields.
We thank you that tomorrow will take care of itself
and that each day has trouble of its own for us to worry about.

“Whether it is the surface of Scripture, or the natural form of nature,
both these things serve to clothe the Christ.
They are both veils that mask the radiance of the faith
while at the same time reflecting his beauty.”    John Scotus Eriugena

Lord, we thank  you for the words your Son spoke to his disciples on the Mount;
we pray that they will always reveal to us
the greatness of his teaching on how we are to live our lives and relate with one another.

“The hand on which the Eucharist is carried is not to be stained by the blood of the sword.”  St Cyprian
Lord teach us in life to value what is the important thing in our lives.
Help us to recognise what really counts for us
as we venerate your Body and Blood here among us.
Help us discover what truly counts in our relationship with one another
and with the world and then what we now know counts for nothing at all.

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Andrew Greeley:

 Background:

  If there is some reason to think that last Sunday's Gospel was a one-act play that some of the very early Christians staged, there is much more reason to believe that today's story of the man born blind is an early example of theological drama. It would be a mistake, however, to read it merely as an expression of sorrow by early Christians who had been thrown out of the synagogue to which they felt they belonged because there was no incompatibility with synagogue membership and following Jesus.   

 It is also a drama about the qualities it takes to see and to see through human phoniness wherever one encounters it. If it were not for phonies (that is men to whom power and institution meant more than religion) on both sides, the tragic separation of Church and Synagogue might never have happened. 

Story:
Once upon a time there was this boy, a senior in college who had a total crush on a young woman who was a junior. She was totally gorgeous and very smart and also very nice, like I mean she never got drunk, you know? She was so pretty and so popular and so cool that our hero couldn’t believe that she even noticed his existence. A lot of his friends go, that chick really is crazy about you, but he thought they were just making fun of him. And some of her friends are like, she’d really enjoy going out with you. But our hero, who was a very shy boy (all boys are shy even they don’t act that way but he was very, very shy) thought that they were making fun of him too. His family had made a lot of fun of him when he was growing up, you see. 

 Well, the young woman, whose name was Fiona, sat next to him American Lit class and talked to him before and after class (about American lit naturally) and stopped to talk to him when she met him on campus (about American lit or about the women’s basketball team on which she played) and about all he could do was reply with animal noises like he was a freshman in high school. You see, he thought she was like making fun of him too! Well, she kind of hung around his family at graduation and they thought she was totally cool. His mother is like that young woman is in love with you and you’re a total retard (that’s the way people talked when his mother was in college) if you let her get away. He thought his mother was making fun of him too. So he’s like she doesn’t care about me at all. And is mother goes there’s no one so blind as he who will not see. My story has to end here, alas.

Connections: 

THE WORD:

Jesus’ Gospel homily on serving “two masters” and the parables of the birds and wild flowers challenge our scale of values:  Do we exist to acquire the holiness of God or the riches of life?  Jesus does not deny the reality of basic human needs for food and clothing, but to displace the holiness of God with the perishables of wealth and power is the ultimate human tragedy.

HOMILY POINTS:

We can become so absorbed with the pursuit of money, prestige and power that we miss the sense of purpose God’s presence gives our lives and fail to realize the richness of the love of those who are most important to us. 

Material wealth is rightly a tool we use to cooperate with God in the work of completing creation; but money and power which become barriers between our lives and the life of God are idols to be condemned.  

Jesus warns us that too often we become the servants of our fears rather than the masters of our lives: the threat of disaster always manages to push aside the possibility for goodness, joy, justice and reconciliation. 

Christ calls us to embrace a vision of hope that is the opposite of fear — hope that trumps our uncertainty of the unknown with the certainty of God’s love, hope that the Good Fridays of our lives will be transformed into Easter fulfillment.   

Off the treadmill

While today’s Gospel speaks of the birds of the sky and the flowers of the field, we might consider for a moment the lowly hamster.

The hamster spends its days in its little cage day in and day out.  Sometimes it turns a little plastic wheel; other times it gnaws on whatever is available.  Whatever the hamster needs “falls from the sky” into its happy little cage.  It’s a good life:  Be cute, keep moving, and all things will be given you, little rodent.

Our vision of the good life isn’t much different:  Keep moving, make a lot of money; be cute, look good, stay young and healthy; stay within your cage.

But there is a problem:  In the pursuit of the good life, we become hamsters in a never-ending wheel of motion, moving at a pace that gets more and more difficult to sustain.  We have to have what our neighbors have; we have to beat them at all costs; we have to make them wish they were us.  But our life on the treadmill is anything but the real thing: the blessed life, rich in joy, rich in peace, rich in the things of God.

Time to get off the hamster’s treadmill and embrace the hope of the birds of the sky and the flowers of the field.

[Suggested by “Off the treadmill” by Kenneth H. Carter Jr., The Christian Century, July 24, 2007.] 

We willingly sacrifice our hope, our enthusiasm, our spirit in order to keep our plastic treadmills spinning; we fear whatever change and complexity threatens the safety of our little cages.  Jesus warns us that too often we become the servants of our fears rather than the masters of our lives: the threat of disaster always manages to push aside the possibility for goodness, joy, justice and reconciliation.  Jesus tells his disciples that we have nothing to fear before God who has proven his love for us unreservedly.  Christ calls us to embrace a vision of hope that is the opposite of fear — hope that trumps our uncertainty of the unknown with the certainty of God’s love, hope that the Good Fridays of our lives will be transformed into Easter fulfillment. 
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Fr Matthew Albright:

Purpose: Our human experience is filled with reasons to be anxious and man’s search for meaning in worldly pleasures leaves him unsatisfied.  Only in surrendering our whole lives to God every day do we discover authentic human fulfillment.  

One of my favorite spiritual axioms is the famous line from St. Augustine: “You have made us for yourself, O Lord, and our hearts are restless until they rest in you.”  In a world where we observe much restlessness, and many failed searches for purpose in life, these few words zero in on the reality that we can never find fulfillment until we rest in God’s embrace. Human persons have, for a long time, looked for love in the wrong places, and attempted to create happiness by their own ingenuity.  Promiscuity, drugs, gambling, alcohol, and other forms of vice and addiction, are man’s search for something to fill up his emptiness. Responsibility and stress burden us, and we seek relief.  Soon, however, every one of us discovers that joy is not found at the bottom of a bottle, or in a fleeting moment of pleasure. The emptiness within man is a bottomless chasm that can only be filled with the divine. Man is made in God’s image, and nothing less than God is worthy of serving as man’s end or fulfillment.  Even the greatest of earthly loves are not things or events, but persons: beings capable of reciprocal love, which is itself a foretaste of the divine love we crave.  We will always be restless until we rest in the One who made us, and for whom we were made.  Evil will persist on earth as long as man chases after mirages, and counterfeit loves.  We will be empty until we allow God to fill us.

The bottom line, then, is to surrender.  In order to rest in God, now and in the life to come, a person has to divest himself of attachments to this present world, and its fading realities. Furthermore, one needs to overcome fear and anxiety in order to give to God the openness of our hearts, allowing him to come into our lives in a profound way.  Then, we will discover him leading, nourishing, and providing for us.  A recent television commercial creatively diagnosed “FOMOF”—“the Fear Of Missing Out on Football.”  That’s the real obstacle: people today don’t want to commit to God, and the Church, for fear they might miss out on something better that might come along.  They might lose something of themselves, or have to give up something fun.  But, that’s exactly the point: as Jesus gave up his life, so must we lay down our lives for him.  Jesus fulfills the whole ancient law as he mounts the Cross, and so provides us with the example of authentic love.  As he has loved us, so we must love.  Football is great to watch, but it will not bring us salvation!  Human persons are made for God; we need God’s love to be complete.

We cannot serve God while remaining a slave to the anxieties of the world: fashion, popularity, financial security.  Instead, the disciple of Christ knows the Good News that only in God is my soul at rest, and that our Heavenly Father knows all our needs, and will provide for them.  Our part is to strip away all that is not of God, and to use the things of this world in a healthy way, always devoted to seeking first the kingdom of God and his righteousness.  The Lord must be first in our lives if we are to enjoy prosperity.  Trying to provide for all our needs on our own will only lead to continued frustration.  We soon realize we cannot do everything on our own, and that we need to surrender and allow God to take over and direct our paths.  Serving two masters leads to inevitable failure.

Each morning, as your feet hit the floor, and you take the first steps toward the bathroom to begin getting ready for the day, make a morning offering.  Offer your life to God in total surrender.  Ask him to use you, each new day, for his purpose, trusting that he will provide for your needs.  Be not anxious about the days to come, but seek only to serve God faithfully today.  Hand over your fears and worries.  Rest in the Lord, and discover a peace that ends your restlessness.

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ILLUSTRATIONS:

From Fr. Tony Kadavil's Collection:

1) Worries and anxiety: In a recent survey reported in Reuters, via MSNBC, 90% of the respondents said that they were worried about how well prepared they were for retirement. Between 20 and 30 percent of all Americans will live today under significant stress. Thirteen million will worry intensely for at least 90 minutes. It may be about our marriages, children, jobs, mortgages, health, grades, friends or a host of other issues. Whatever the source, worry is an emotion with which all of us are familiar and which 27 percent of us experience virtually on a daily basis. (Statistics taken from American Demographics and MD Magazine, p 28). But a University of Michigan study determined that 60% of our worries are unwarranted; 20% have already become past activities and are completely out of our control; 10% are so petty that they don't make any difference at all. Of the remaining 10% only 4 to 5% are real and justifiable, and we can't do anything about half of those. So only 2% of our worries are real.  
 

2) "One Day At A Time." Several years ago a country gospel singer named Christy Lane scored an international hit with a record titled "One Day At A Time." “One day at a time--this is enough. Do not look back and grieve over the past for it is gone; and do not be troubled about the future, for it has not yet come. Live in the present, and make it so beautiful it will be worth remembering.” Its popularity probably had little to do with the tune, which was ordinary at best. Nor could you explain its appeal by referring to Ms. Lane's voice. She has a nice voice, but were it the reason for the success of her song then each of her recordings would have gone gold. The bottom line is this: it was the words of the song that appealed to millions the world around, the words which deep down we all know are true and wish we had the faith to live up to. The best we can reasonably do in this world is to live one day at a time and leave the rest up to God. Too often, too many of us become trapped in the past or seduced by the future, to the point that we miss out on the present -- which is actually all any of us ever has.

 3) “Golfer’s Bible.” Perhaps the finest golf coach America ever produced was the late Harvey Penick of Texas. He wrote the Little Red Book which is sort of the “golfer’s Bible.” Mr. Penick said that most golfers do not think on the golf course; they just worry. “Worrying is a misuse of your mind on the golf course,” said Mr. Penick. “Whatever your obstacle, worry will only make it more difficult. Worry causes your muscles to tense up, and it is impossible to make a good golf swing when your muscles are too tense.” “Rather than worrying,” he said, “be mindful of the shot at hand and go ahead and play it as if you are going to hit the best shot of your life. You really might do it.” [Penick, Harvey, with Bud Shrake, The Wisdom of Harvey Penick, (Simon & Schuster: New York, 1997), p.298.] This is great advice about life, not just about golf. Indeed, Mr. Penick’s words remind me of what Jesus said about worry. 
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PROVIDENCE OF GOD

John Wesley's father, Samuel, was a dedicated pastor, but there were those in his parish who did not like him. On February 9, 1709, a fire broke out in the rectory at Epworth, possibly set by one of the rector's enemies. Young John, not yet six years old, was stranded on an upper floor of the building. Two neighbors rescued the lad just seconds before the roof crashed in. One neighbor stood on the other's shoulders and pulled young John through the window. 

Samuel Wesley said, "Come, neighbors, let us kneel down. Let us give thanks to God. He has given me all my eight children. Let the house go. I am rich enough." John Wesley often referred to himself as a "brand plucked out of the fire" (Zech 3:2; Amos 4:11). In later years he often noted February 9 in his journal and gave thanks to God for His mercy. Samuel Wesley labored for 40 years at Epworth and saw very little fruit; but consider what his family accomplished! 

W. Wiersbe, Wycliffe Handbook of Preaching and Preachers, Moody Press, 1984, p. 251.


The citizens of Feldkirch, Austria, didn't know what to do. Napoleon's massive army was preparing to attack. Soldiers had been spotted on the heights above the little town, which was situated on the Austrian border. A council of citizens was hastily summoned to decide whether they should try to defend themselves or display the white flag of surrender. It happened to be Easter Sunday, and the people had gathered in the local church. 

The pastor rose and said, "Friends, we have been counting on our own strength, and apparently that has failed. As this is the day of our Lord's resurrection, let us just ring the bells, have our services as usual, and leave the matter in His hands. We know only our weakness, and not the power of God to defend us." The council accepted his plan and the church bells rang. The enemy, hearing the sudden peal, concluded that the Austrian army had arrived during the night to defend the town. Before the service ended, the enemy broke camp and left.

Source Unknown.

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MASTER

John Kenneth Galbraith, in his autobiography, A Life in Our Times, illustrates the devotion of Emily Gloria Wilson, his family's housekeeper:

It had been a wearying day, and I asked Emily to hold all telephone calls while I had a nap. Shortly thereafter the phone rang. Lyndon Johnson was calling from the White House.

"Get me Ken Galbraith. This is Lyndon Johnson."
"He is sleeping, Mr. President. He said not to disturb him."
"Well, wake him up. I want to talk to him."
"No, Mr. President. I work for him, not you. When I called the President back, he could scarcely control his pleasure. "Tell that woman I want her here in the White House." 

Published by Houghton Mifflin, Reader's Digest, December, 1981.
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TRUST

One day, while my son Zac and I were out in the country, climbing around in some cliffs, I heard a voice from above me yell, "Hey Dad! Catch me!" I turned around to see Zac joyfully jumping off a rock straight at me. He had jumped and them yelled "Hey Dad!" I became an instant circus act, catching him. We both fell to the ground. For a moment after I caught him I could hardly talk. 

When I found my voice again I gasped in exasperation: "Zac! Can you give me one good reason why you did that???"

He responded with remarkable calmness: "Sure...because you're my Dad." His whole assurance was based in the fact that his father was trustworthy. He could live life to the hilt because I could be trusted. Isn't this even more true for a Christian? 

Tim Hansel, Holy Sweat, 1987, Word Books Publisher, pp. 46-47.



"Duties are ours, events are God's; When our faith goes to meddle with events, and to hold account upon God's Providence, and beginneth to say, 'How wilt Thou do this or that?' we lose ground; we have nothing to do there; it is our part to let the Almighty exercise His own office, and steer His own helm; there is nothing left for us, but to see how we may be approved of Him, and how we roll the weight of our weak souls upon Him who is God omnipotent, and when we thus essay miscarrieth, it shall be neither our sin nor our cross." 

Samuel Rutherford, quoted in Prodigals and Those Who Love Them, Ruth Bell Graham, 1991, Focus on the Family Publishing, p. 106.


There is no situation I can get into that God cannot get me out. Some years ago when I was learning to fly, my instructor told me to put the plane into a steep and extended dive. I was totally unprepared for what was about to happen. After a brief time the engine stalled, and the plane began to plunge out-of-control. It soon became evident that the instructor was not going to help me at all. After a few seconds, which seemed like eternity, my mind began to function again. I quickly corrected the situation.

Immediately I turned to the instructor and began to vent my fearful frustrations on him. He very calmly said to me, "There is no position you can get this airplane into that I cannot get you out of. If you want to learn to fly, go up there and do it again." At that moment God seemed to be saying to me, "Remember this. As you serve Me, there is no situation you can get yourself into that I cannot get you out of. If you trust me, you will be all right."  That lesson has been proven true in my ministry many times over the years. 

James Brown, Evangeline Baptist Church, Wildsville, LA, in Discoveries, Fall, 1991, Vol. 2, No. 4.


Trust Him when dark doubts assail thee,
Trust Him when thy strength is small,
Trust Him when to simply trust Him
Seems the hardest thing of all.
Trust Him, He is ever faithful,
Trust Him, for his will is best,
Trust Him, for the heart of Jesus
Is the only place of rest.

Source Unknown.



David, a 2-year old with leukemia, was taken by him mother, Deborah, to Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, to see Dr. John Truman who specializes in treating children with cancer and various blood diseases. Dr. Truman's prognosis was devastating: "He has a 50-50 chance." The countless clinic visits, the blood tests, the intravenous drugs, the fear and pain--the mother's ordeal can be almost as bad as the child's because she must stand by, unable to bear the pain herself.  David never cried in the waiting room, and although his friends in the clinic had to hurt him and stick needles in him, he hustled in ahead of him mother with a smile, sure of the welcome he always got. 

When he was three, David had to have a spinal tap--a painful procedure at any age. It was explained to him that, because he was sick, Dr. Truman had to do something to make him better. "If it hurts, remember it's because he loves you," Deborah said. The procedure was horrendous. It took three nurses to hold David still, while he yelled and sobbed and struggled. When it was almost over, the tiny boy, soaked in sweat and tears, looked up at the doctor and gasped, "Thank you, Dr. Tooman, for my hurting." 

Monica Dickens, Miracles of Courage, 1985.


A television program preceding the 1988 Winter Olympics featured blind skiers being trained for slalom skiing, impossible as that sounds. Paired with sighted skiers, the blind skiers were taught on the flats how to make right and left turns. When that was mastered, they were taken to the slalom slope, where their sighted partners skied beside them shouting, "Left!" and "Right!" As they obeyed the commands, they were able to negotiate the course and cross the finish line, depending solely on the sighted skiers' word. It was either complete trust or catastrophe.

What a vivid picture of the Christian life! In this world, we are in reality blind about what course to take. We must rely solely on the Word of the only One who is truly sighted--God Himself. His Word gives us the direction we need to finish the course. 

Robert W. Sutton.


Years ago, Monroe Parker was traveling through South Alabama on one of those hot, sultry Alabama days. He stopped at a watermelon stand, picked out a watermelon, and asked the proprietor how much it cost. "It's $1.10," he replied. Parker dug into his pocket, found only a bill and said, "All I have is a dollar." 

"That's ok," the proprietor said, "I'll trust you for it." 
"Well, that's mighty nice of you," Parker responded, and picking up the watermelon, started to leave. 
"Hey, where are you going?" the man behind the counter demanded. 
"I'm going outside to eat my watermelon." "But you forgot to give me the dollar!"
"You said you would trust me for it," Parker called back. 
"Yeah, but I meant I would trust you for the dime!"
 "Mack," Parker replied, "You were't going to trust me at all. You were just going to take a ten-cent gamble on my integrity!" 

Haddon Robinson.



Uncle Oscar was apprehensive about his first airplane ride. His friends, eager to hear how it went, asked if he enjoyed the flight. "Well," commented Uncle Oscar, "it wasn't as bad as I thought it might be, but I'll tell you this. I never did put all my weight down!"
Source Unknown.



A man who lived on Long Island was able one day to satisfy a lifelong ambition by purchasing for himself a very fine barometer. When the instrument arrived at his home, he was extremely disappointed to find that the indicating needle appeared to be stuck, pointing to the sector marked "HURRICANE."  After shaking the barometer very vigorously several times, its new owner sat down and wrote a scorching letter to the store from which he had purchased the instrument. The following morning on the way to his office in New York, he mailed the letter. 

That evening he returned to Long Island to find not only the barometer missing, but his house also. The barometer's needle had been right--there was a hurricane! 

E. Schuyler English.


One problem I remember was a time when our son Bob broke our trust and lied to his mother and me. He was still young, dating Linda, his wife-to-be, and was only allowed to see her on certain nights. Well, one night he wanted to see her without permission and told us he was at his friend's house. When we found out the truth, there was a real scene between us. He had violated our trust; it was like a crack in a fine cup that marred its appearance. 

In the confrontation, I smashed a fine English tea cup on the floor and told Bob that to restore our trust would be like gluing that cup back together again. He said, "I don't know if I can do that." And I said, "Well, that's how hard it is to build confidence and trust again." The outcome was that Bob spent literally weeks carefully gluing the pieces together until he finished. He learned a very important lesson. 

Dr. Rovert H. Schuller, Homemade, Jan 1985.



There is an old story of a father who took his young son out and stood him on the railing of the back porch. He then went down, stood on the lawn, and encouraged the little fellow to jump into his arms. "I'll catch you," the father said confidently. After a lot of coaxing, the little boy finally made the leap. When he did, the father stepped back and let the child fall to the ground. He then picked his son up, dusted him off, and dried his tears. 

"Let that be a lesson," he said sternly. "Don't ever trust anyone." 
Bernie May, Learning to Trust, Multnomah Press, 1985, p. 4.
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