In Matthew 6: 30-33, Jesus says:
“If God gives such attention to the appearance of wildflowers—most of which are never even seen—don’t you think he’ll attend to you, take pride in you, do his best for you? What I’m trying to do here is to get you to relax, to not be so preoccupied with getting, so you can respond to God’s giving. People who don’t know God and the way he works fuss over these things, but you know both God and how he works. Steep your life in God-reality, God-initiative, God-provisions. Don’t worry about missing out. You’ll find all your everyday human concerns will be met.”
In this passage, Jesus reminds us that if we let go God will take care of us. That message has been hitting me over the head repeatedly this week. I guess it’s one I need to hear! Our society is built around worry. We’re built around fear. We constantly fight messages that tell us we aren’t enough, we have to be better and that only we can do it but Jesus tells us to let those things go.
Earlier in the text he tells us to forget about clothes, stop worrying about what you look like and focus on living a God-centred life. That’s not our world is it? We’re told how to sleep better so we can perform better so we can get the promotion to make more money and be a better person. That’s not really the life God envisions for us, is it. God wants us to build relationships, both with God and those we love. When we wind up fixated on worry and control we lose sight of the things that matter. We fail to see the bigger picture.
Life isn’t about us. It’s about relationship and attention. It’s about engaging the world around us. It’s about making a difference. As a church we claim to want to do those things but at times I fear we get bogged down in worry. We wonder how we will get people in the door. We wonder how we will keep going unless things change. I think things need to change. We need to trust God. We need to believe that God will provide if we have a God Centered approach. If we pray, trust, listen and execute according to God’s will things might be different. We need to let go of fear and we need to believe again.
I wonder sometimes what would happen if we really trusted. I wonder what would happen if we let go of the worry and started to trust. What would happen if we sold our buildings and started gathering together in a new place? If we rented instead of owned? If we had less investment in the buildings and started to focus on ministry? What could we do with the money from that sale? What kind of ministry could be done by a group of Christians who acted in faith, moved in together and created a new ministry from the ashes of the old? What a resurrection story that might be! What hope might spring from that leap of faith.
I recently found an incredible story on the Huffington Post, “Giving Up Half of our Possessions Made our Family Whole” by Kevin Salwen. The Salwen family sold their home and gave 1/2 of their money to help subsistence farmers in Ghana are transforming their lives with the help of The Hunger Project. Mr. Salwen said that the project changed his family for the better. They realized the multitude of blessings they had. They started to see their life in new ways.
In the article he states “In our big house, we stopped communicating. We’d scatter to different rooms, far from one another physically and spiritually. The house actually began to weaken our love, or at least our ability to express that love…In our new, smaller, “half” house, we live with each other instead of near each other. We interact more, engage more, talk more, debate more, touch more, love more.” Is that what happened to us? Did we stop communicating? Did we get too far away from each other?
What would happen to us if we were brought closer together. What would happen if we were drawn together? If our gifts and talents were gathered in a new way, so we could provide meaningful ministry for today’s context? What would happen if we trusted God to bring us together instead of grasping at straws to stay apart?
The Salwen’s made me think. The incredible trust they had. The courage to change their lives, unsure of what that might mean in order to make a difference in the lives of those they might never meet. It’s inspirational.
God has something incredible for us to do if we trust. If we let go of our need to be in control, if we surrender and follow, amazing things might happen. Can we trust? Are we willing to let go and let God take the lead?