September 30, 2015 Ponder
The movie Fiddler on the Roof includes a song where the husband and wife list the many functions of marriage but continually return to the question, “Do you love me?” Marriage can become a routine of faithfully carrying out responsibilities and commitment but fail to nurture a loving relationship that brings warmth and joy.
Brennan Manning, in his book Ruthless Trust, begins with these words: “This book started writing itself with a remark from my spiritual director. ‘Brennan, you don’t need any more insights into the faith,’ he observed. ‘You’ve got enough insights to last you three hundred years. The most urgent need in your life is to trust what you have received.’”
I have been pondering the relationship of doing many good things to actually trusting. The story of Jesus’ visit to the home of Martha and Mary came to mind. Martha was doing many good things. The house needed to be clean and the food prepared with excellence, especially when Jesus is your guest. She became obsessed with doing these good things and missed out on what Mary was doing – spending focused time listening to what Jesus had to say.
It is easy for me to become so involved in doing good things that I fail to spend time listening to “what the Spirit has to say to the churches” – a statement from Revelation 2 and 3. As described in Charles Hummel’s book The Tyranny of the Urgent, distractions take me away from a focus on what is important. Brennan Manning’s friend reminded him that knowing God’s Truth but not trusting Him results in a lot of activity without God-honoring productivity.
This is not to condone a lack of study and prayerful digging into God’s Word in order to share helpful Bible teaching. Paul told Timothy to be diligent in this effort. But information without love for the One Who gave us Truth results in cold academics with little possibility for the Spirit of God to bless. And that brings me back to the question: “Do I trust Him?”
Everything in the life of a follower of Jesus needs to be based on trust. As a marriage without genuine love is only about function and accomplishment, a relationship with Jesus without genuine trust will result in performance without power. As Brennan Manning suggests, to fail to trust God is to question His existence. Because we know He exists, we can trust Him. He is Creator God.
I am humbled and challenged to evaluate my life for areas where I need to admit to being distracted by many good things – and to spend more time listening to what God has said and believing it consistently. I need to reclaim the faith of a child who just believes – and leaves a lot of questions happily unanswered.
Pastor Bill Ehmann