It is right there in green and white. It is engraved into the silver, copper, and gold. It is a prominent feature on our currency. It is a statement of trust. It is a statement of reliance and dependence. However, I want to submit to you that most of us have trust issues and the way we handle what we seem to value most disputes whether we really trust God or if we have removed Him from the statement and instead have filled His spot with a blank.
In services like this all you have to do is read the passage of Scripture in Psalms 20:7 that says, “Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the Lord our God.” And you can get shouts of agreement and affirmation! Hands go up and heads nod. We proclaim trust and yet even with all the teaching we have been exposed to about God loving a cheerful giver, that is more blessed to give than receive, and that we reap what we sow there is no question that we have trust issues.
Only 3% of Americans give to a church and in Protestant and Evangelical church the average giving is $17 a week.
So, for all our talk about trust in the Lord there is little to no proof of that when the question of trust extends to our finances. We have trust issues and those trust issues are never more apparent or glaringly absent than when it extends to our wallet.
I declare to you today that if we don’t trust Him in all then the truth is we don’t really trust Him at all. I want to challenge your trust levels today! I want to show you that you can trust Him in all.
Luke 7:36-39, 44-47 (Message)
One of the Pharisees asked him over for a meal. He went to the Pharisee’s house and sat down at the dinner table. Just then a woman of the village, the town harlot, having learned that Jesus was a guest in the home of the Pharisee, came with a bottle of very expensive perfume and stood at his feet, weeping, raining tears on his feet. Letting down her hair, she dried his feet, kissed them, and anointed them with the perfume. When the Pharisee who had invited him saw this, he said to himself, “If this man was the prophet I thought he was, he would have known what kind of woman this is who is falling all over him.” 44 Then turning to the woman, but speaking to Simon, he said, “Do you see this woman? I came to your home; you provided no water for my feet, but she rained tears on my feet and dried them with her hair. You gave me no greeting, but from the time I arrived she hasn’t quit kissing my feet. You provided nothing for freshening up, but she has soothed my feet with perfume. Impressive, isn’t it? She was forgiven many, many sins, and so she is very, very grateful. If the forgiveness is minimal, the gratitude is minimal.”
I know most of you know this account. However, I want to spend some time in this account from the perspective of trust because this account is a graduate level teaching on trust that we must grasp.
I want you to notice where she encounters Jesus. In the home of a Pharisee. She is in the company of religious folks. These are The Who’s who in religious circles. I also want you to pay attention to who gets angry that she breaks open this flask of perfume. It was a religious person. Why is it that only the church folk get nervous when the conversation turns to money? We want the church to address every topic under the sun . . . Relationships, worship, parenting, marriage, prosperity, healing but then we get angry when the topic selected bleeds over into our finances! Why? I think the only ones offended by discussions about giving are those who have trust issues?
This lady demonstrated trust.
She trusted Him with her life. Remember who she was and where she was. She was a harlot in the home of a Pharisee. Pharisees have a long standing track record in Scripture with how they treat a woman like this. If you read this account in John 12, then it occurs after the Pharisees had already showed their hand when they drug a woman into the streets who was caught in adultery (John 8) to stone to death. By venturing into this environment to get to Jesus she was literally putting her life at risk. Maybe she had witnessed Jesus’ intervention in John 8 and knew she could trust Him with her life. With no apparent concern for her own saftey and unwilling to let the snide remarks of the host stop her she kneels in front of Jesus. She apparently believes He won’t let her be mistreated. Perhaps we can conclude that it was no great leap to trust Him with what she valued because she had already trusted Him with her life. Perhaps because she trusted Him to protect and shield her life she could willingly push past fear and place her most valued possession at His feet.
Why is that so many of us can trust Him with salvation, but seem to struggle to trust Him with our savings? If we can trust Him with our family, then why is it so difficult for us to trust Him with our finances?
This woman teaches us . . .
Trusting Him with what you value is an indication that you have learned to trust Him with your life!
Don’t claim trust with your life if you don’t trust Him with what you value!
This lady’s trust level went beyond just her life. She also trusted Him with her future. This flask that she had to destroy to empty was not only highly valuable . . . Mark says that its worth was 300 Denari - a year’s wages - some say this would translate to today’s $54,509. So, this was security for her future. It was her 401K if you will. Some even believe it would have been part of her dowery. In other words it was to be reserved and held back in case she was to be married. Without it she had no ability to marry. This valuable perfume represented a different life, a future, and security and without hesitation she poured it out at Jesus’ feet.
I wonder how many of us have graduated to this level of trust? Have we learned to trust Him with today but refuse to offer our future as a sacrifice of worship? I wonder if fear about tomorrow causes us to be untrusting today?
How we give today, is an indication of our trust level regarding tomorrow!
If you pulled your giving statement, went through your checkbook, examined your bank accounts to discover your giving in the last 10 months what would it say about how much you really trust Him with your future? Would it say that you think you better hold onto what is really His because you may need it and you aren’t sure He will come through? Would it say that you don’t trust Him to provide provision for your future? I don’t think Jesus is against savings. I do believe He is against with filling in the blank with anything but His name. When we say, “In retirement, stocks, savings, schemes I trust” it reveals that we don’t trust Him with our future. We will put our money where our God is!
Early on John Wesley committed to living on 28 pounds a year. That first year he made 30 pounds so he was only able to give 2 pounds. The next year his income doubled so he was able to give 32 pounds. Later in life his income had increased to thousands of pounds but he continued to live on 28 pounds and gave multiplied thousands of pounds away. He said, “God’s blessing should result in raising our standard of giving, not our standard of living!”
Are we more committed to our life style that we are to our savior?
Do you have trust issues? If you won’t take the word of a woman with a valuable bottle of perfume, then take my word, my life as a testimony . . .
Yes, indeed—God is my salvation. I trust, I won’t be afraid.
God—yes God!—is my strength and song, best of all, my salvation!”
If I can trust Him with my salvation, then I can trust Him with my life. If I can trust Him with my life, then I can trust Him with my tomorrow. If I can trust Him with my tomorrow, then I can trust Him with what I value today! Can you? Do you?
Finally, this woman reveals that not only our trust is revealed in how we handle what we value, but it is also an indication our level of gratitude.
If the forgiveness is minimal, the gratitude is minimal. How thankful are you? Does your giving reveal that gratitude?