Proverbs 3:5 says, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding.”
TRUST, it says, TRUST in the LORD. I want tell you about something else I used to trust in. The photo above is of Muggs. I found him going through a box of old junk in my garage. I have had Muggs for as long as I can remember. In fact, one of my earliest memories is of dragging Muggs along wherever I went—around the house, outside playing, in the car, and to bed. In the crazy way little kids get attached to certain things, I was attached to Muggs.
This was a long time ago, and I don’t remember much about it; but apparently, I felt better when Muggs was with me. Many small children have a special blanket that they just have to have with them all the time, especially when they go to sleep. I’ve been told I had one of them, too, when I was even younger. But then later, for a while, I had Muggs. Muggs was my security, something to hold on to, and I suppose in a way, you might even say, I trusted in Muggs. That is what is behind the phrase ‘security blanket’—a child feels more secure with the item in hand, be it a blanket or a favorite doll or a Muggs. And that’s silly, isn’t it? How can anyone trust in, or rely on, something like that? What did Muggs ever do for me? Nothing. He can’t even stand up on his own.
We all quickly grow out of depending on such silly little things as that for our security, but we all do then, go on to put our trust in other things, some almost as silly. These other things can perhaps do a bit more for us than a blanket or a stuffed monkey. But they are still not worthy of our complete trust, and will still not give us the ultimate security that we really want and need.
Teenagers, for example, well trained by the advertising industry, learn to put their trust in outward appearances. Therefore, some will spend all kinds of time and money on clothes, makeup, tattoos, or their hair so they can look just right, in order to fit in with whatever group they want to fit into. Others will focus on their athletic ability, and they trust in sports to make themselves feel important and special and make life happen for them. And of course, everyone wants money. But it is usually later in life, in adulthood when you are paying your own bills, that money becomes that which is most craved and trusted in for security. That can happen when one gets a little older and has more money; along with a decline in one’s athletic or appearance attributes. Appearances, athletics, money, along with other things like jobs, popularity, position and authority, travel, entertainment, health, houses, and hobbies—any of those things can become all-consuming passions that we begin to focus on, trust in, and rely on more than anything else in life for our meaning and self-worth and direction and security. What do you trust in, rely on, and depend on, most of all, in your life?
The Bible says, ‘Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding.’ The verse doesn’t say anything about all that other stuff.
So what does that mean, ‘Trust in the Lord with all your heart?’ How can we do that? As you well know, we DO need to work, to make money, to pay our bills. You can’t trust God to put the checks in the mail. And, the very nature of some jobs is to, by necessity, have a certain amount of power over people, perhaps even over a whole company. And sports and hobbies can be a lot of fun, and there is nothing wrong with that. And personal appearance and grooming, though way over emphasized these days, should not be neglected either. And we certainly need houses, and we should do our best to stay healthy. All of those are good and necessary aspects of life.
But to trust and rely on God means, as it says in the catechism, to “fear, love, and trust in God above all things.” Trusting and relying on God means to see and approach all those other things in light of our relationship with God.
So, for example, we must not neglect God in our pursuit of those other things. And we must not disobey God by lying or cheating other people in our pursuit of money or position or happiness or any of those other things. And we must be grateful to God, and not live our lives in resentment because someone else has something more or something better. Rather we should see all of life as a gift and everything that we are or have as coming to us by God’s grace.
And so, trusting in God means, as the verse says, to not rely on our own insight or resources or strength, but to trust in God’s direction and guiding in telling us what is most important in life, and then, how to best handle all the rest.
God’s Word also reminds us that we live not only for a few years on this earth, but we will live for an eternity. With or without God, we will live for all eternity. This life, then, becomes not the time where we need to desperately do it all and have it all, but a time to prepare and to be ready for what will inevitably come next. Believing in that will change our approach to and understanding of everything else. Although we have been blessed with great freedom, we are not totally free. We have a duty and an obligation to obey God, and to know and understand what God expects of us in our brief time on earth.
Only God is worthy of our complete and total trust. Only God can provide us with a security that lasts for all eternity, and which can give comfort even in death. All other things that we trust is, be it good looks, talents, athletic ability, or money—all of that will give us a security that will last only slightly longer than the security I found for a while in Muggs, my stuffed monkey. Nothing, other than God, can give lasting security, or, is worthy of our complete trust. Everything else will get you only so far. (continued…)