Bread – Reliance

May 29, 2015


Readings for Friday, May 29, 2015, designated by the 1979 Book of Common Prayer: Deut. 5:1-22; 2 Cor. 4:1-12; Luke 16:10-18; Psalms 31,35

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In the last two weeks, I have seen a friend find out that he has stage 4 pancreatic cancer when he went to the doctor because he was just not feeling well. Another friend has lost his job for no good reason except for a change of management. Bread has not come out for the last two weeks in substantial part because my e-mail “broke,” and when it became “unbroken” two months of e-mails had disappeared. Another friend has, in the last three days, had four major appliance-systems in his house fail. A client has been flooded from the rains.

All these disasters have given me pause to think about how much I rely on – my health, my wealth, the Internet, the weather, and, finally, my gadgets.

And when those things fail I find that my reliance on them rests upon a crumbling foundation. I cannot rely on my health when it has failed; I cannot rely on my wealth when it has disappeared; I cannot rely on good weather when it turns bad; I cannot rely on my gadgets when they don’t work; and, finally, I cannot rely on the Internet or my e-mail or any other kind of technology. It all disappoints, falters, and finally fails.

And yet isn’t it sort of a sad statement on me and everyone else for that matter that we rely on what fails all the time, as if it won’t fail. I know they will fail but I rely on them anyway – doesn’t that seem like some form of foolishness?

The truth is that I probably, if I admit it, rely more on my dishwasher than I do on God. The dishwasher fails and God does not, but I rely on the dishwasher more often and more consistently more than I do God.

Our money says “In God We Trust.” Really? Isn’t it true that we trust first in ourselves, in our thoughts and ideas, our inventions, our tower of Babel than we trust in God?

What will carry us through this storm of failures – failure of health, wealth, weather, friends, ourselves, our gadgets, our technology, our education, our science?

The answer is nothing will carry us through the deadly tornados of life except for Jesus. I would say “that’s it” but that would be an untrue statement, because Jesus is not a “that,” He is not a philosophy or an idea or a man-made invention; He is He. So what I should really say is “that’s Him.”

Our reading today from Corinthians says it all – “We have this treasure [Jesus Christ, the Lord] in jars of clay…We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair …” 2 Cor. 4:7-8.

I have to admit that when I was afflicted with the loss of my e-mail, my first tendency was to be driven to despair as I spent hours trying to put Humpty Dumpty back together. It was only when I focused on Him and not me that I realized my reliance had been misplaced.

It’s Friday and all week long I (and I’ll bet you as well) have been relying on our health, our wealth, our education, our talents, our friends, the Internet, and our gadgets … and what has it gotten us except to the end of the week, barely, maybe. Maybe, reflecting on that, I (and we) can begin relying more regularly and completely on the One who can and does bring us through adversity into life, here and forever tomorrow.

There was a good friend of mine, now dead, who always prayed before he started his car that it would start and prayed before he hit the garage door button that the garage door would open. Now, me, I’ll just go start the car and hit the garage door button, in total reliance that they will work. But I think my friend got it right – why rely on what will fail and instead rely on who does not?

A thought for the day as I go and start my car. Will I rely on the car to start or Him? I don’t know. Old habits are hard to break. Thank God He is patient and that He does not fail, even though I do.

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© 2015 GBF

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