August 20, 2019 - False Gods - A Reflection on Matthew 19:23-30
Can I ask you a question? Do you trust God? Wait! Think about it for a moment before you answer. Do you really trust God? If he were to ask you to drop everything you were doing and come follow him, would you do so immediately? Or would you say, no, let me think about it, and then spend years “discerning” whether he actually is asking you to follow him? In today’s story, Jesus asks a rich young man to leave everything and follow him, and the guy runs for his life. If you were in his place, wouldn’t you have done the same?
Over the years I have come to realize that it isn’t really easy to trust God. It’s far easier to trust people and things than it is to trust God. This isn’t because we don’t believe that he exists; it is just that it is much easier to trust things that we can see, touch, and feel. Like people and possessions. Even when we seek comfort, it is the arms or a man or a woman that we seek, rather than God.
Therefore, the more we have with us—people or possessions—the more our sense of security, and the less our dependance on God. Which is why Jesus said it is hard for a rich person to enter the kingdom of heaven. Because a rich man’s faith often lies in his money. Money becomes the rich man’s god. But there are other forms of riches. We can be rich with pride, rich with unhealthy relationships, rich with “friends”. Social media, which links us with thousands of people (but connects us with few), can also make us feel rich.
As someone who was an atheist for 25 years, I have known the truth of this. And it is only when a day came when I literally lost everything I had — did I realize my faith was misplaced. Any security the world provided was illusory. And I started learning how to trust God. It’s a process of gradually letting go, and discovering that he has you in his hands. I have repeated the same mistakes I made when I didn’t know God, but came to the same realization: there is nothing the world can give. Except perhaps pain.
So, I want you to think about your life as it is right now. You might be placing your faith in people or possessions. Both are fickle. God is not. Scripture says, “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever” (Hebrews 13:8). He doesn’t change his mind as man does. He is loyal. He is faithful. And his word is true. So, start letting go of what you cling to, little by little, and put your trust in him.
I promise you that he won’t let you down. He is a true God.