Sunday Message 02-28-2021
"In God we trust"
Gen 17:1-10, 15-19
The minister finally decided he must talk to the richest member of his congregation, no matter how much it hurt.
"Why," asked the minister, "do you fall asleep when I'm delivering my message?" Answered the rich man, "Would I
fall asleep if I didn't trust you?"
The first U.S. coin to bear the inscription, "In God We Trust", was a 2-cent piece minted in 1864. The idea, for
having a motto, originated with a Pennsylvania minister who suggested it to Salmon Portland Chase, Secretary of
the Treasury under Abraham Lincoln. Chase, a deeply God-fearing man, asked James Polloch , director of the
Mint, to come up with appropriate words. In a letter to him, Chase wrote, "no nation can be strong except in the
strength of God, or safe except in His defense. The trust of our people in God should be declared on our national
coins." And so the motto, "In God we Trust" was born.
Indeed, the motto, "In God We Trust", is primary to our Christian faith. As we consider our journey with the Christ
to Jerusalem, during this Lenten season, all one can do is trust in God that things will come out alright. All Jesus
could do was to trust in God.
In our everyday lives, it is easy to say we trust in God ... that is until the going gets a little tough, and our faith is
truly tested – the question becomes - do we trust in God or do we trust in ourselves?
The story of Abraham and Sarah is the story of trust - trusting in God. God called Abraham and Sarah to pack up
their things and move to a brand new land. God called them to leave their friends and family and go and God
would give to them many descendents and a bountiful land. Here was a command "to go" coupled with a promise.
The situation for Abraham and Sarah was simple, do they trust God and go or do they ignore God and stay?
Does the promise of a child and new land out weigh the fear of leaving home? Can God provide a child to a
couple who are aging and have never been able to have a child? The question is trust - do Abraham and Sarah
trust in the power of God?
The answer is yes, they trust. They pack up and go to the new land fully trusting in God. Yet when the news
comes that the aging Sarah who is past child bearing years is actually going to bear a child to fulfill the promise of
God, how do Sarah and Abraham react? They laugh. They laugh at God. And here we see the real answer,
Abraham and Sarah do not fully trust in the power of God.
So for Abraham and Sarah, the answer to the question, "Do they trust God" is both a yes and a no. They trust to
a certain degree but then the realities of life rob them of complete trust. Are we any different? Yes, we say we
trust in God but still there is that element, that tendency in each of us that would rather place our trust in our own
abilities rather than God.
At the end of the story, we see that God is fully trustworthy. God made promises to Abraham and Sarah, promises
that are impossible for humanity to fulfill - a child to an aged couple - yet God was able; God kept God's promises,
showing forth to us that God is trustworthy. God is trustworthy even when the promises do not seem realistic or
possible or even logical - God is God. God can and God will keep those promises. So in total faith we can say,
"In God we trust."
What does it mean to say that we trust in God? The Apostle Paul sees trust in God as the key to faith and
grace. For when one has faith and trusts in God's gracious and redemptive power, one then allows God the
freedom and the room to work within one's life. This is the issue – first one must trust - thereby opening the door
to welcome God into one's life and allowing God to work the miracles within. On the other hand, if a person does
not trust God or does not accept God's gift of grace, then how is God able to work within that person? The door is
closed. One trusts only in oneself and upon one's own works to achieve any type of immortality. God is restricted
by one's lack of trust from working miracles within.
Paul calls upon Abraham and Sarah as the examples of trust and what God can do for those who trust in him.
They trusted and God fulfilled the promises made to them. So here we are, some four thousand years after
Abraham and Sarah, some two thousand years after Jesus, and the issue is still before us - do we trust in God? It
depends upon what we want and what we believe.
If we believe that life is only in the here and now then we need to live life according to the Beer commercials -
"Go for the gusto" and many people do live that way. They see life as present tense. One is here now and
tomorrow one is gone - there is no future. So why trust in God? What can God do for my life now? Nothing - God
is not going to win the lottery for us or make us rich and beautiful people. Our hand has already been dealt - live
life as it comes to us.
If we believe that life does not end upon one's death but that there is an after life, then there are other
considerations. However these considerations are dependent upon our view of life after death -- is there a
heaven and a hell -- a place of pleasure or a place of punishment. Then the question becomes, "how does one
lead one's life to get to the place of pleasure?" In other words a works righteousness.
Yet the Christian, the person who believes and places one's trust in God -- these questions become irrelevant.
Why? Because we trust in the promises of God made in Jesus Christ. We believe that we are here on this earth
not to go for the gusto; not to try and make it into the place of eternal pleasure; but to serve the purposes of God
our creator. No longer does life center in us rather life centers in God.
Because we place our faith and trust in God, we have the assurance that we shall share in God's glory for all of
eternity. It is no longer a question. The promise has been made to us in Jesus Christ. We believe and we trust.
We have heard the story of Jesus Christ. We have heard the story of Easter. We have heard how the people
killed Jesus and how God raised Jesus from death to new life. This is the promise for each of us. God will raise
us from death to new life - why - because in God we trust. If God is able to do it for Jesus then God is able to do it
for us. This is the promise - believe, trust, and one shall have life.
So what does it all mean to us? It means that we are to trust in God. Now trusting in God for one's salvation is
relatively simple. For who else do we have to trust in? We all know our own weaknesses. We all know our own
failings. How can we depend upon ourselves? We can't, so we must turn to God and depend upon God's
gracious love for us to save us from eternal death.
Yet there is more. In God we trust not only for salvation but for all aspects of our lives. We have to learn to turn
our lives over to God and trust the Lord to work miracles through us. It is like Abraham and Sarah trusting as they
left their home going to the new land. It is like Jesus trusting as he made the journey towards Jerusalem. We are
to trust in God in all aspects of our lives.
My friends, our experience in life tells us that trusting is always difficult. We have placed our trust in fellow
humans and often times we have been let down. We have learned not to trust or to trust "cautiously" and trust
"carefully" waiting to see if a person is trustworthy or not. However, placing our trust in God is a different matter.
God has shown us throughout the scriptures that God is faithful, that God can and does fulfill all promises no
matter how impossible they seem to be for humans. We are to learn to trust God and to depend upon God.
There is a story of a man while walking along the shores of the Dead Sea who lost his balance and fell into the
water at a point where it was rather deep. Never having learned to swim, the man was panic-stricken. In
desperation he began to thrash about with his arms and legs, fearing he would sink and drown. At last completely
exhausted, he felt he could do no more. Crying out to God for help, he prepared for the worst. What a surprise to
him; for as soon as he relaxed the water bore him up. He had forgotten that the Dead Sea is so full of salt and
other minerals that if a person lies still, he can easily float upon its surface. He will not drown as long as he
resigns himself to the buoyancy of the water.
This simple story has a profound lesson for us who are the Lord's children. God will uphold us if we simply
relinquish our unnecessary fears and cease from our own human efforts. The safety and serenity offered by such
a complete reliance on God will quiet our hearts even in our most desperate hours of difficulty. The eternal God is
a never failing help when we flounder in the sea of trials and sorrow.
Indeed, we have to learn to trust in God for all aspects of life. The way to begin, is to talk with God, to
communicate, to pray and to get to know the Lord for who he is - a friend, a companion, one who walks with us
and talks with us. The Lord is there waiting for us to turn to him and place our trust in him.
Let us begin today. Let us begin to trust in God and be open to God's will and be responsive to God's calling.
Perhaps God is calling to us today, like God called to Abraham and Sarah. Will we hear? Will we trust? Will we
Let us pray.