I spent my evening with a couple who were worried about a number of things. There were the financial concerns that many of us have. There were the worries about their kids- were they doing the right thing? There were medical worries.
They didn’t come to me. I went to them. I like to get around and see the people in my congregation from time to time; go to their homes and talk, just to get to know them better. It’s one of the perks of being a pastor- I’m one of the few people who get to invite myself over to your house without being thought rude.
These are the sorts of concerns a pastor hears regularly. But they’re the concerns we all hear regularly, whether we’re pastors or not. If you have friends and family that you talk to, you’ve probably heard these same kinds of conversations in the not too distant past. People have concerns.
The Bible has a lot to say about all these things. But even so, I didn’t really have any answers. I’m not a financial planner. I’m not a doctor. And I have the same worries about my own kids. If someone comes to me wanting to know what the Bible says about divorcing your wife or whether the righteousness of Christ is infused or imputed in us by His death, I’ve got answers. Pull up a chair- it might take a while. But the kinds of problems this couple was having are not so much about tricky decisions to make or doctrines to understand as they are about just coping. Just keeping putting one foot in front of the other despite the difficulty. And on that ground, a pastor doesn’t really know anything that any other of God’s children doesn’t know too.
And I open my mouth to say something anyway, despite having little of great profundity to say, and then I remember- they didn’t come to me, I came to them. They didn’t ask me for answers, and since I don’t have them, I might as well keep my mouth shut and keep drinking my coffee. The only thing I really have to say sounds inane to me anyway.
But it isn’t inane. Far from it, and the couple I’m visiting apparently knows that better than me. After listing some specifics of their worry, they say, “You just have to trust God.”
It was the only thing I could really think of to say, and I didn’t need to say it anyway. I find myself telling people that a lot, so much so sometimes that I get sick of saying it. I want to have a profound answer. I want to solve their problems. I want to say the thing that they’ll remember for the rest of their lives, telling their grandchildren about the thing their pastor said that changed their life.
I want them to trust me. And that’s a shame.
It’s a nice reminder. I’m the teacher, and often I learn as much from those I’m supposed to be teaching. They’re the ones doing it, putting one foot in front of the other, despite the difficulty. And it’s their trust in God that gives them the strength. They know Jesus gave His life for them, and He sent His Spirit to them, to teach them about Himself and give them the wisdom and strength to serve Him. They know Jesus will always be with them and will never disappoint.
God gave us pastors to help us, to point us to Scripture, to remind us of the truth. We pastors can spend the extra time to study the difficult passages, to read the books, sort out the different beliefs and ideas. Pastors serve a valuable function.
But pastors come and go. This couple had their concerns before I ever got to Limon, and they’ll still have them when I’m gone.
And what they’ll also have is the Holy Spirit, teaching them to trust Jesus, and giving them the strength to keep putting one foot in front of the other.
Many of the most important problems don’t have simple answers. We don’t know the reasons for a lot of the things that happen. The Bible was not written to a satisfy our curiosity and many questions simply go unanswered. But this is not to say God has no response when we come to Him with these kinds of concerns. On the contrary.
25… I say to you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink; nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing? 26 “Look at the birds of the air, for they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they?”…31…Do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32…For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. 33 “But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.”
Jesus doesn’t tell us how we’re always going to get what we need. Instead, He tells us not to chase after these things, not to worry about them. God has all the resources in the world at His disposal. He can make all the problems go away anytime He wants, and if He hasn’t, He has a good reason.
God will give us what we need. Just trust Him. He takes care of all of His children. Our concern ought only be to enter into the kingdom of heaven, which we gain by faith. And faith just means belief, trust that God’s promises are true. In other words, trust God. He’ll take care of you. It might not be a fancy answer, but it’s the truth.