Rev. Ronald E. Holling, St. John Lutheran Church, Omaha
Who can we trust? That’s a big question today because there’s a lot of distrust and mistrust going on. No one believes most anything anymore.
Because we have ruled out absolute truth there isn’t anything that we can trust because according to that wisdom there is nothing that is true. Truth is what you want or what I want. We end up believing and trusting only ourselves. And that indicates why we have certain things going on in our world today.
Protests are because people want what they want because they think they know all the answers. People can’t depend upon others because they don’t have the answers that we do. People rebel against authority because it can’t be trusted. They don’t have the right answers. So that brings us back to the question again: Who can we trust?
If we define trust as a part of faith. And faith is believing something to be true. And trusting is depending upon it to be true. When it comes to our faith in Jesus Christ, we have to admit that no one sat down and thought up our faith. It’s not a human invention. That’s what St. Peter says following the Transfiguration: “We did not follow cleverly invented stories when we told you about the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we were eyewitnesses of His majesty. For He received honor and glory from God the Father when the voice came to Him from the Majestic Glory, saying ‘This is My Son, whom I love, with Him I am well pleased.’”
The Christian faith is not fiction. It is not a fable. It is not something someone made up. The Christian faith is based upon the revelation of God Himself. That revelation is recorded in the Bible. And it is true. The Bible is the record of events and experiences based on eye witness accounts and personal encounters with the God of heaven and earth. It tells about Jesus who came to earth to live a perfect life, to suffer for the sins of the world, to die but then to rise again. This Jesus is the Savior. He desires to be your Savior and your Lord.
Rev. Nancy Tomlinson, St. Paul United Methodist Church, Papillion
Earn. Save. Give. Those were Wesley’s instructions to his followers.
This week, we are dealing with give; a touchy topic in most churches and I would guess other organizations too. But Jesus did not shy away from the topic. As a matter of fact, in one story he basically watches what everyone is dropping in the offering plate. Can you imagine? It would take a brave and foolhardy pastor to do that today.
Jesus watches for a while. He sees wealthy folk putting in rather small amounts proportional to their wealth. And he sees a widow put in two mites, together worth about a penny. And he commends the widow for her giving and says the rich are basically giving spare change. Most of us identify with the widow, when in truth, according to the world’s distribution of wealth, we are the wealthy.
Reaching in our pocket and giving our spare change does not compare to the sacrifice of the poor. Studies show that the poor are more generous than the rest of us. They give proportionally greater parts of their resources. I believe that those who have experienced poverty have learned a great lesson. That is the punch to Jesus’ story. Every “mite” counts. Every penny counts.
Most of us do not live in a way that indicates we believe this. But imagine a mountain of mites. Individually, they do not amount to much but a mountain of mites could do some real good in the world. You and I may not have enough money to become a big name philanthropist but surely together we can change the world for the better if a lot of us become modest philanthropists. Earn. Save. Give.
And keep giving, even if it is only a mite. Every “mite” counts.