Sunday, February 21, 2010

A Matter of Trust

Whoever loves money never has money enough; whoever loves wealth
is never satisfied with his income. This too is meaningless.

-- Ecclesiastes 5:10

OK… Here’s one for all you history buffs and Trivial Pursuit champions: What’s the official motto of the United States?

Stumped? You probably can find the answer in your wallet, your car’s ashtray or even between your sofa cushions. Starting more than 140 years ago, American coins – and later paper money – have featured the inscription “In God We Trust.” The official website of the US Treasury indicates that in 1861, a Pennsylvania minister recommended to Secretary of the Treasury Salmon P. Chase that American coins should “recognize Almighty God in some form.” Chase agreed and instructed the director of the Philadelphia mint to prepare an appropriate motto.

“No nation can be strong except in the strength of God, or safe except in His defense,” wrote Chase. “The trust of our people in God should be declared on our national coins.”

In 1864, “In God We Trust” made its first appearance on the two-cent coin. How ironic that “Godless” money should cite such an important reminder about the real Source of our security. But if we’re really honest with ourselves, shouldn’t the motto read: In GOLD We Trust? After all – when things get tough in life – it’s only natural to rely on our money, riches and possessions rather than the One who makes it possible to earn a living. But reliance on job security and the stock market is never wise – particularly these days. As the host of one popular television fashion show likes to remind her wide-eyed contestants: “One day you’re in. And the next day, you’re out!”

It’s an unsettling fact: our bank accounts are no defense against life’s hard realities. Terminal illnesses strike, relationships fail and that which seemed solid turns to dust in our hands. What we desperately need is something – or Someone – who’s dependable. Who never changes. Who we can trust.

Jesus paints a vivid picture of this universal quest through His story about the foolish man who built a house on shifting sands. When the storm struck, the rains came and the winds blew with fury. It’s no surprise that the flimsy structure collapsed with a crash. But the wise man – in comparison – built his house on a Foundation of solid rock. So when the storm clouds of life boiled on the horizon, that house withstood even the heaviest downpours.

This leads us to the obvious question: Are you counting on your money to save you when, as that insurance commercial puts it, “life happens”? If so, why not trust in God: the One who knew everything about you before you were even born. You can take it to the bank!

“Blessed is the man who makes the Lord his trust,” we read in Psalms, “who does not look to the proud, to those who turn aside to false gods.”

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