TRUST AND OBEY
(Reprinted from Parish Register 1980)
by Bishop Franklin H. Sellers, D. D.
Dwight L. Moody was in Brockton , Massachusetts conducting a series of evangelistic meetings when a young man, spiritually moved by the great preacher, rose in the congregation and said, “I am going to trust, and I am going to obey.” Attending that evening was a Professor of Music by the name of Daniel B. Towner. The young man's statement appealed to the professor so much that he wrote it on paper and sent it, together with the story, to a Presbyterian minister, Rev. John H. Sammis.
Thus, the stage was set for the composition of one of the most loved Sunday School gospel hymns. The Reverend Mr. Sammis wrote these words, “Trust and obey, For there's no other way, To be happy in Jesus, But to trust and obey.” This simple admonition to trust God rests upon sound biblical counsel and experience. The psalmist attributes a state of blessedness to the one who is able to overcome the anxieties of life and place his trust in God. “Blessed is that man that maketh the Lord his trust” (Psalm 40:4). He further suggests in Psalm 62:8 that there is no occasion when we cannot place our trust in him. The verse reads, “Trust in him at all times, ye people.” We can deduce a further truth in his writings. Trust is not just an attitude or a description of a state of mind. It is a pre-condition to beneficial activity, according to Psalm 37:3, “Trust in the Lord, and do good.”
Biblical experience points out a number of curious circumstances where God has required his servants to “Trust in the Lord with all thine heart and lean not unto thine own understanding” (Proverbs 3:5). Those who did, found the reward great. Let us share three of these examples with you in this issue.
FIRST, a time to “trust and obey” when it seems self-defeating. Genesis 22 tells us about a mountain-top experience of ancient Abraham that was certainly different. He was not on a mountain top of joy but of testing. Yet, his example of trust is so outstanding that it serves as an inspiration to us today. In faith Abraham had responded to God's call with the words “Here am I.”
Attentive and obedient, he waited God's instruction, which, when it came, must have startled him. God said, “Take now your son, your only son, whom you love, Isaac, and go to the land of Moriah and offer him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains of which I will tell you.” You must consider how long Abraham had waited for his promised son. How much a son and heir meant to him and how important it was to establish his line of descendents, which was promised by God in Genesis 15:5. All this was in jeopardy in the instruction to offer “his only son, whom he loved” unto the Lord. To do God's will would certainly seem self-defeating, but thank God that Abraham never wavered, as he stretched out his son on the fire wood and raised his knife over him.
Verses 12 and 13 tell us what ensued. God provided the needed sacrifice as well as reinforced his covenant with a well-tested patriarch, adding the promise, “In your seed all the nations of the earth shall be blessed.” We rejoice in that blessing today, earned because Abraham proved he could “trust and obey.”
Joshua is the SECOND biblical example of trusting God, even when it seems ridiculous. In the sixth chapter of the book that bears his name, we read of his experience when God delivered this promise, “I have given into thine hand Jericho , and the King thereof, and the mighty men of valor.” You will note there is no underestimating the defenders of this fortified city. Yet, for a military general to follow the procedure set forth in this chapter seems ridiculous. Consider this scene – (1) Seven priests carrying trumpets made of rams' horns, (2) men carrying the cabinet which contained the Law of God, (3) the armed men of Israel marching in silence in front, and (4) the people in the rear of the procession.
Can you imagine the ridicule that would be heaped upon a commander who put such a plan in practice today? But, Joshua believed God's promise which was indispensable to the plan. He trusted. He obeyed. On the seventh circuit the people shouted and the walls fell. The city was his as promised.
From the New Testament we draw our THIRD example of “trust and obey,” even when you fear! All of us know the record of the conversion of Saul of Tarsus. Armed with warrants and breathing threats and murder for the arrest of any of the “followers of the way,” of any who openly profess faith in Jesus as the Christ, Saul made his way to Damascus , Syria . While en-route, filled with the zealots' desire to bring terror into the hearts of those who blasphemed the God the Pharisees worshipped, Saul was granted a vision of Christ. Blinded, but submissive by this encounter with Jesus, Saul was led to the city to await his fate, to fast, and to pray.
A citizen of the city who was a disciple named Ananias, in the record of Acts 9, was granted a vision. Reminiscent of Abraham and Isaiah, Ananias responded with the words, “Behold, here am I, Lord.” The Lord instructed him to “Arise, go to the street called Straight, and inquire at the house of Judas for a man from Tarsus , named Saul.” What an impact that assignment had, because Ananias had heard terrible things about Saul, and the pain and havoc he inflicted on the brethren in Jerusalem. God, however, brooks no argument, because he had chosen Saul to bear his name before “the Gentiles and Kings, and the sons of Israel .”
Can you imagine the fear in the heart of an ordinary disciple in that far-off city as he made his way to be the one who was to admit, through the laying on of hands and baptism, one of the chief sinners of all time. However, before he knew of the task, Ananias answered, “here am I, Lord,” so now was no time to turn back. Now was the hour of trust and obedience. Ananias completed his mission, fear or not. He addressed the feared persecutor in trust with these words, “Brother Saul, the Lord Jesus has sent me so that you may regain your sight, and be filled with the Holy Spirit.”
How fortunate for us that Ananias “trusted and obeyed.” How much poorer the world would be without the letters of Paul to the churches and the pastors. It was this same Paul who later wrote to the Roman Christians about Jesus Christ, quoting from the great prophet Isaiah, “There shall come a root of Jesse, and he that shall reign over the gentiles, in him shall the gentiles trust. ” He was speaking of our generation, of our trust in Jesus, the heir of David's throne, of our need to TRUST AND OBEY.
“When we walk with the Lord in the Light of His Word
What a glory He sheds on our way!
While we do His good will, He abides with us still,
And with all who will trust and obey.”
Missionary of The Month
Sue Brodish, Christian Kindergarten. Schwalmsadt-1, Germany .
On the Wednesday nights in Lent we will be having soup suppers in the parish hall at 6:30 p.m. The dinner will be followed by a service in the chapel at 7:30 p.m. Lent begins Ash Wednesday, February 9, 2005 . Everyone is encouraged to attend these special gatherings.
Thank you to Steve & Sue Horosinski, Nancy Toomey, Edwina Greco, Henry Leenstra , Sara & Derrick Hassert, Anita Rago, Beth & Will Garrison for decorating the church for Christmas. The chapel was beautiful.
Thank you to those who contributed non-perishable food items for the Tinley Park Food Pantry during Advent and Christmas. Your thoughtfulness and generosity is most appreciated.
The 99th Synod of the Diocese of Mid-America will be held at St. Thomas in Little Rock , Arkansas , February 17 & 18, 2005. Do be in prayer for this important meeting.
Annual Parish Meeting
March 6, 2005 in the Parish Hall following morning worship.
Tinley Park Parade of Lights
This year St. Andrew's Church participated in the Tinley Park Parade of Lights. We decorated a float with a living nativity scene that was decorated and lighted with battery-powered lights. The towing vehicle was graciously donated along with several bales of hay to use for the manger scene. Our float won a special “Holiday Spirit Award” for the most traditional theme. The ribbon is on display together with several pictures in the narthex of St. Andrew's. Candy canes with our address and phone numbers were passed out to 500 people, along with tracts and flyers telling people about our church. After the parade, we met back at the church for hot chocolate and fellowship. A good time was had by all! A special thank you is in order to all who braved the cold and participated!
Feb. - 3 - Adele O'Brien
Feb. - 7 - Michaela Smith
Feb. - 9 - Mike Acke, Sr.
Feb. - 12 - Edwina Greco
Feb. - 18 - Lawrence King Klingen
Feb. - 23 - Lorie Conn Stultz
Feb. - 28 - Larry Woodard