Well I want to give you the secret of security. Boy we need it in a country today. We need it in America. We need it in our private lives so that deep down there’s a sense of security and I want to give you one word. The word is trust: T-R-U-S-T. I suddenly realized, the older I get, that I have been blessed since childhood with trust. I was blessed to be born and raised in a family where there was always a prayer before breakfast and before lunch and before dinner. Always prayer. There was prayer before I went to bed every night. So I grew up hearing my father pray, hearing my mother pray, hearing myself pray and that started at an earlier age than I can recall. It’s just the way my life started and continued.
You know I look back on it now after 80 years and I think my God, what You gave me was trust! I trusted my father, I trusted my mother, I trusted the preacher in the pulpit. I trusted my Sunday school teacher. I trusted my brother and my sisters. I trusted the church. I trusted the bible. I trusted Jesus. I’ve all my life, been living surrounded in an environment of trust. To me, that’s normal living. To me, that’s natural. To me, that’s the way we’re all supposed to live. Now many of you have had that same childhood and adulthood, but many of you have not. Trust: One of the most powerful words in the shaping of human personality. Wow. All you have to do for a moment is consider its alternative. The opposite of trust is suspicion. Oh God, what a life to live. Trust.
I want to leave this bible verse with you. Psalm 37, verse 33, “Trust in the Lord and do good and you will dwell in the land of joy and security.” Trust in the Lord. Now probably most of us have had an experience, maybe some have never had it, I have seldom had it, and that’s to be betrayed in trust. To trust someone or something and then find out that your trust was abused? Now that’s tragic. I have counseled people like that but I’ve never needed it. For the providence of God the people I trusted proved trustworthy, and you’re sitting here today. And so the longer you live, the deeper your trust becomes. Well what is trust? It’s much deeper than faith, in fact, it’s having faith in your faith. That’s trust. It’s having confidence in your faith. That’s trust. How can you learn to trust? I think it can only happen when you run the risk of failure. Trust is something that comes when you know you could have been betrayed, you could have been misused. Wow. Trust.
How can you trust people? On a wide level, it is intuitive and I have to say that that’s how it is for me. I can trust people on intuition. I can almost feel it, see it, touch it, imagine it. Trust becomes a spiritual experience in a relationship. How strong is your trust today and who do you trust? How can you trust people? For many of us, trust comes when we learn from others and trust what they are trusting. I trust God, I think with all my heart and soul and life. And a person said to me recently how can you trust God? How can you believe in God in a horrible world? My answer is quite simple: I trust people whom put on a higher pedestal than myself. Why do I trust God? Why do I believe in God? Because I believe in Jesus. He believed in God. He called God my heavenly Father. And I look at the life of Jesus and how He lived, yes, and how He died, yes, how He rose again. Jesus believed in God. That’s why I’m a believer. I can’t go wrong if I believe what Jesus believed. You can’t make a mistake if you embrace a faith that Jesus lived. Draw faith from His life and that’s far more trustworthy than your own imaginations in your mind. Yes.
How strong is your trust? Years ago I heard a story and I was recalled it as I made room for my time this morning. There was a stunt man and he wanted to build a name for himself. So he advertised the fact that he would walk on a narrow rope across the waterfalls of Niagara. He announced that he would walk both ways and the time and the date was announced and publicity was gathered, and he became a big, big publicity. So that on the occasion, there was a crowd on both sides of the Niagara River and the one narrow but strong rope stretched across. And he made his way to the beginning and the crowd applauded and applauded. He said shhh. They quieted and he took his first step without a rod to balance. And he made it. In the middle, he seemed to sink a little. But he remained upright and he made it to the other side, and then immediately, without pausing, he turned and started walking back. Never even stumbled. Made it to the other side to the roar of applause from both sides of the river.
Then he announced I have a wheelbarrow and I’m going to use both hands to hold the wheelbarrow so the balancing will be difficult without the use of my arms. And he took the wheelbarrow across and then back again. And the applause was so loud, he said now I will make one more pass over the river. But I need help. I need a volunteer to ride in the wheelbarrow. And the crowd applauded him so long and vigorously, never raised a hand. Nobody trusted enough to go in the wheelbarrow.
The truth is that in our life we are called by God to do many things that at the surface seem impossible. Do you trust God enough to get in the wheelbarrow when God is going to walk across the chasm? God asks you to trust your income carefully, prayerfully. The bible says that when we receive something, we should give a tenth back to the Lord.
Represents what God gives us every day; health, strength, material income. And He asks for a thank you. He asks you to give one tenth back to Him.
He asks a tithe. Only a tenth! So all of the money that we get, all of the income we get, we give a tenth back to Him. I learned that way back in college. That time, it sounded like giving a lot to God. Wow. But I had no regular income so I didn’t give anything to Him. Went through college, went through graduate school, through seminary, got my first job as a pastor at a little church in Chicago and I thought now I’m getting income. Now I have to tithe. So I took a tenth of my income. My income was $200 a month, salary, five dollars a week. So I wrote out a check of $5 and that was God’s. I gave it to Him. I thought I was giving an awful lot. What did I have left? I had nine left! Nine tenths left to live on and the message was loud and clear, that if I couldn’t live on nine tenths, I was my own worst enemy. I had to learn how to manage money. Stop blaming others! Start blaming myself. It was quite a jolt. Many of you are there today. You have to start with yourself. Become a tither. Give a tenth, live on it. You’ll be surprised. I have true belief in miracles because many, many times the end of a week I could look back and see that money came from unexpected sources. I’ve had a lot of letters in my life from anonymous people and so many of those letters would have a five dollar bill in it and no return address to thank them. I’ve lived this. Look at me. Listen to me. I’ve lived it! Try it! I want you to have the life I’ve lived. I want God to bless you the way He’s blessed me but you can’t be blessed if you don’t trust and trust Him. Wow.
I remember this man who told me a story, it was years ago. He was raised in a very fundamental church. Then he became a doubter, a skeptic, then he became an atheist. One day, he was walking, it was a Sunday morning and he said there was a church there and I was in a strange town but I walked by the church and I could hear sounds coming so the door was open; I went up and saw the open door. And wow. He said the minister was calling people to pray and all the heads went down, they all prayed and I thought who are these crazy people anyway. They’re crazy. When I spotted a head, it was the head of one of my professors who happened to be in town that week for a speech. Here sat my professor in church with all those crazy people! And he had his head bowed. And when the minister said amen, I watched him. His head went up, turned a little and I could see the face from the side and the face was different than the face I saw in the classroom. There was an aura about it. And I could see that was the presence of God! He was a believer. Then and there I made a decision to accept the Lord. I’ve lived with it ever since. What a faith it is. Call it trust. Trust.
I remember a woman who said to me I asked my friend who is a great believer, you’re a believer and I am too but what if I come to the end of my life and there is no God! Never was a God. And I became convinced that I’d been fooled all along. Suppose there is no God. My friend said you’d have lost nothing. You lived with the faith. It rewarded you. The word suppose is not in the bible. The word is surely! “Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever,” amen. Wow.
Here is God in this place. Probably everybody, maybe not everybody but maybe most of you are believers in God and God is blessing you and will continue to. Surely, not suppose, but surely. “I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever,” amen.
Oh God, here we are. You are here and You brought us here to assure us that our faith is strong, that our faith is rightly placed, that You have blessings prepared for us. We will keep trusting, amen.