We have come to the time of the church year when especially focus on living as Christians in this world.
Christians face many challenges in this world. Sometimes those who are close to us, maybe even members of our own families, think we are out of our minds to follow Jesus. Jesus had the same problem with his own family. Jesus was accused of cooperating with the devil. That can happen to us too. And just because we are Christians does not mean we will always be healthy. In 2 Corinthians 5 the Apostle Paul talks about how our outer nature is wasting away.
But there are also joys associated with living as a Christian in this world. We have the privilege of joining with our fellow believers in worship. Every worship service is to be a foretaste of the eternal worship that we will experience in heaven.
And we have the privilege of leading others to know Jesus. There is perhaps no greater joy than to lead someone to know that, for the sake of Christ, all our sins are forgiven and we have the gift of eternal life in heaven.
In this post we will talk about another very important element of living as Christians in this world; our heavenly Father trusts us.
Think about it. How hard would it be to live in this world that is hostile to our faith if we didn’t know or were not sure that our heavenly Father trusted us? But we don’t have to wonder. As we shall see, we can be 100 percent confident that God, our heavenly Father, trusts us.
Jesus’ ascension into heaven is pretty convincing proof that God trusts us. If God did not trust us do you think he would have had Jesus leave the world? No. God would have had Jesus stay on this earth and continue to hold our hands as Jesus had to do countless times with the disciples.
Instead, Jesus ascended into heaven and left behind a group of apostles that no one expected would do what they did. They turned the world upside down.
Another reason why we know that our heavenly Father trusts us is because of what he has entrusted us with. God has entrusted us with the most powerful force on earth, he had entrusted to us the ministry of reconciliation.
In 2 Corinthians 5, Paul writes:
In Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation. Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. (2 Cor. 5:19-20)
God entrusted to us the message of reconciliation. God makes his appeal through us. What clear proof that he trusts us!
In Matthew 16, after Peter make his great confession, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God,” Jesus declares, “I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.” God gives us the keys of heaven.
And Jesus told his disciples in John 20:21, “As the Father sent me, I am sending you.”
God trusts us even though all too often we aren’t very trustworthy. In Mark 4 Jesus and his disciples are caught in a storm on the Sea of Galilee. Jesus was sleeping through the storm even though the boat they were in was about to sink. The disciples woke him up and said, “Teacher, do you not care that we are perishing?”
Jesus awoke and said to the wind and the storm, “Peace, be still,” and the storm was gone. Then Jesus turned to his disciples and said, “Why are you so afraid? Have you still no faith?” But Jesus when they made it safely to the shore, Jesus did not fire his disciples. He kept them because he still trusted them. And so too when our faith comes up short God does not replace us. He trusts us so he keeps us.
Someone once commented, “My father gave me the greatest gift anyone could give another person, he believed in me.”
Believing or trusting in a son or daughter is not something a parent can just say, as parents we have to show that we believe in our children. This can happen in many small and large ways. For instance, letting a son or daughter take the car shows the parents believe in them. Parents show they believe in their children when they trust their choices in who they will date and which career they will choose to pursue.
The opposite of believing in our children is devastating to them. Parents can be too critical, never trust their children, always question their choices. Those children will struggle to have the confidence to do anything, and when things don’t go right, they will probably make excuses rather than take responsibility for their actions.
Our heavenly Father does not just say he trusts and believes in us, he shows that he does. God has entrusted to us the message of reconciliation the most powerful message in the world. We are ambassadors for Christ.
There was once a shoe company that sent two salesmen to Australia to sell shoes to the Aborigines. Two months later the two salesmen sent back their first report to the company. The first salesman wrote, “I have an impossible task. No one here wears shoes.” The second salesman wrote, “There is unlimited potential here. No one here wears shoes!” (Story told by Rev. Don Fondow at the Minnesota South District Convention in June, 2015.)
Whether or not a person decides to wear shoes is not the point. The point is everyone needs to hear about Jesus and the peace and reconciliation we have through faith in his death for us on the cross and resurrection from the dead. Since God has entrusted us with the message of reconciliation, we go forth boldly to proclaim this good news. There is unlimited potential here and everywhere.
The fact that he trusts us is not to make us proud and arrogant.
This ministry is not the possession of just one person. It belongs to each congregation equally. The pastor is the one whom the congregation calls to administer the treasure on its behalf.
Suffering is another indication that God trusts us. He trusts that, even though we suffer, we will not abandon the Lord but continue to trust in him. Paul puts it this way:
But as servants of God we commend ourselves in every way: by great endurance, in afflictions, hardships, calamities, beatings, imprisonments, riots, labors, sleepless nights, hunger;… through honor and dishonor, through slander and praise. We are treated as impostors, and yet are true; as unknown, and yet well known; as dying, and behold, we live; as punished, and yet not killed; as sorrowful, yet always rejoicing; as poor, yet making many rich; as having nothing, yet possessing everything. (2 Cor. 6:4-10)
God trusts that even if we endure all these things we will not abandon him. We will still trust in him.
If God trusts us, do we trust each other? For a congregation to thrive the members must trust each other. We must trust each other to work together. We also trust that when we let each other down we deal with it in a Christ-like way.
Let there be no doubt, God trusts us. He trusts us with the most powerful message in the world, the message of reconciliation through the death and resurrection of Christ.