Homily | God Provides: Trust in God

Today’s Gospel challenges us to believe that even in the face of Life’s most challenging circumstances, God will provide what we need to thrive and flourish as disciples of his son. Specifically, our Gospel talks about those who claim it is irresponsible for the people to put their full faith and trust in Jesus - to them, an itinerant preacher. Yet, my sisters and brothers, this is exactly what we as the current crop of Disciples of Christ should be doing: Putting our full faith and trust in God and his Son that they will help us through life. This is even a bigger challenge because we are asked to live as his disciples in a world that has become so materialistic and monetary that we think nothing of replacing a current model gadget with the newest and best model; because we all know last year’s model, which runs just fine isn’t nearly as good as the current one. Monetarily, we see people trying to accumulate as much money as humanly possible. And, when they do get all of this money they hoard it and think that they did it all themselves so they believe that they owe no one, especially God. Yet our wealth, our ability to provide for our families - all come from God. God was the one who gave us the gifts to accumulate all of our wealth and material goods.

Put bluntly, our world is greedy. Our country has a divide between the haves and the have nots. This greed, this need to have more, seems to get in the way of our trusting in the idea that God will provide. Jesus tells us that we cannot put our trust in both God and mammon. Many people question what is meant by Mammon.  It is actually an older Hebrew word that means material goods. So Jesus is saying that when it comes to God, you cannot serve both God and material goods, and I would say money. In other words, if you are to call yourself a Christian, you cannot out of one side of your mouth claim that your are a proud Catholic and out of the other do anything you can to amass all of the gadgets and money you can. Please know, that Jesus is not denouncing material possessions. We need material goods such as food, clothing and shelter for our survival. What Jesus is denouncing is the hording of such goods for no other reason than you just have to have them. Jesus knows that putting our faith in riches gets in the way with our faith in God. Greed and the quest for the most toys can damage our relationship with God.  

With such thoughts, Jesus tells us that we need to have faith; we need to trust in God. Since building the kingdom of God was the master plan to begin with, and since God knew all of our strengths and weaknesses and still called us, we too should have that same confidence. We should have the faith to know that God will see us through the task that he has given us.

Now, I know that this is easier said than done. Our own limitations and sinfulness often get in the way of our way (by which) we minister and try and be the face of Christ. Then there are the forces in society, the peer pressure that undermine our individual efforts at being a follower of Christ. And then there are the people whom we commit ourselves to helping: they can be ungrateful; they can take and take and take and never actually say thank you. Finally, if we are being completely honest with ourselves, some of the obstacles actually come from the Church: the rigidity of some and the scrupulosity of others.

We seem to have a lot of rules and regulations of when and how we can perform ministry. Yet it is in these times that we should trust the most, because it is in these times that we hear the voice of Jesus telling us not to worry, trust in God. I realize that in this age of information, in being able to get information in seconds, we have a hard time doing something unless it is after we have thoroughly investigated all possibilities. It would seem irresponsible to not investigate all angles - especially if it entails trusting in an unseen God that tells us not to worry about things.

But once you have that trust, once you have that faith, it allows you to discover goodness in the most unexpected places. Putting your trust in God helps you to see God all around you. Those performing a service such as being a Eucharistic Minister, a lector, someone who makes a casserole for the soup kitchen: When you open yourself up to doing these and many different kinds of service, you begin to see God in the people whom you are serving. Faith in God, instead of amassing as many things as possible, allows you to be free of worrying about the next upgrade, the next gadget that’s found on the shelf at Best Buy. I know that this sounds like a cliché, but I have never seen an armored car in a funeral procession; meaning, you really can’t take it with you. All of the toys we have accumulated, and I’m one that has some interesting ones, but all those things we have accumulated, thrown away or stored because they are out dated … are really nothing at all. It isn’t the material goods or the one with the most money who has the best relationship with God. No, it is the one who has the strongest faith because it is in faith that we anxiously await the Lord who is our hope and our shield.

And so my brothers and sisters, all of the metaphors found in today’s readings deal with us trusting in God. We see God characterized as a rock, a stronghold, a refuge in our time of need. Each of these examples speaks about the reliability of God; each speaks of God not forsaking us and not casting us off as useless. Each also speaks of us trusting in God. But this is the radical faith that is demanded from one who claims to be a Christian. We are challenged to live our lives as individuals of faith who put all of our trust in God; that God’s will be done in our lives. That in the end is what Jesus expects of his disciples: trusting in God.

 

 

 

 

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