In God We Trust

"He who trusts in his riches will fall, but but the righteous will flourish like the green leaf." Proverbs 11:29

"In God We Trust." What a great statement. What other nation in the world would have it placed on the coinage and currency of the land. America, still the world's standard for national wealth and personal consumption has it as a constant reminder of the wisdom of trusting God more than the money that passes through the hands of her citizens. Gotta love it!

Question:If money talks then what does it say? Answer: "Goodbye!" Pastoring in the "oil patch" in Houston, Tulsa, Borger, and Runaway Bay has made me pretty confident in the answer to the question. After watching booms go bust, and picking up the pieces of debris in people's lives, I couldn't agree more. From Houston Chic to Panhandle French it sounds the same note of finality as it takes off on its fickle flight. Like the saying goes, "Here today and gone tomorrow."

In 1980 I met a seminary classmate named Simon Sirchar. He was a pastor-evangelist from Bangladesh. One day between classes he was asked by another student, "What do your people enjoy hearing you preach about the most?" I thought it was a great question, so I leaned in E.F. Hutton style to hear the answer. Simon said without a hint of hesitation,"The second coming." Well, then the eschatological rodeo began. He was peppered by one seminarian, "Do you preach the pre-millenrial, post-millenial, or a-millenial position?" Someone else asked if he preached the pre-trib rapture or the post-trip rapture of the church. On and on it went, until every position known to man on the subject of the last days was presented as a possible preaching topic. I have never forgotten his response. He smiled gently and with the patience of Job addressed us as if he was speaking to small children. He said, "They just want to know the answer to one question, 'Is Jesus coming back?' "

That is all he said. In other words, between the waves of religious persecution, famine, drought and flood they don't care how Jesus comes back. They just want to be reminded that He can be trusted to keep His promise. As Americans, we have the luxury of living in Disney World while we discuss our options for departing for Heaven. While we experience the occasional economic downturn or inconvenient cash crunch, we whine while we wait for God to finish building our final ride to Heaven. Life is just so hard when you have to choose between Starbuck's and Folgers. I love the bumper stickers that emerge in Texas during these downturns. "God send us another BOOM and we promise not to BLOW it this time."

For the Christian in Bangladesh, and for the persecuted church in many other parts of the world the tribulation has already started. Don't crumple up your charts about the end times. I am not using a capital "T" for tribulation. There are Christians in the world today who are experiencing what other Christians are only debating. Their trust in God is not going to be inflated by an accumulation of worldly goods. They know the cost of trusting in God may be the loss of their jobs or the death of their families. Their concept of downsizing is different from most Americans. it is not a matter of accepting a condo, but choosing a coffin. Their idea of flourishing like a green leaf is more about finding Heaven at last than building Heaven on earth.

I am intrigued by the fascination of young people today with things "70-ish." They have discovered bell bottoms, longer hair, peace symbols, and earth tones. Wow. Thought that was gone forever. Still, I hope that they don't miss the real message of the "The Seventies." This was the last great breakthrough of the Spirit of God on our nation. It was the Jesus Revolution that brought in waves of new converts, and sounds of new music. One of the prophetic voices of the day was Keith Green. I miss his no nonsense words that challenged a new generation of believers to get right with God and make things right in this world. I am encouraged by new voices of men like Francis Chan who set a new standard of trust in God with his book, 'Crazy Love." Maybe, just maybe God is challenging His people in this country to trust in Him more than they trust in their riches.

I don't want to be like one of the old fogies that missed out on what God was up to in 1970's. They didn't stop God, they just missed Him. So, I think I will just trust God that while He is shaking the foundations of this country financially, He just might be getting ready to unleash another Great Awakening. To take hold of God we have to let go of anything that we have held closer than Him. There is nothing like cold cash to cool one's heart for God. Money may not be able to buy happiness, but anyone who has had some before knows that money can rent it for a while. The real test of our trust in God will not be if we get more of what we had, but if we receive from God what we need the most...Him. The real answer to our need is not that we need more of Him. God is not holding out on us. He needs more of us.

Let's give God some elbow room in our lives and trust him to bring about a new kind of "green" in our lives...the fresh growth of righteousness that will attract others to the oasis of His love.