Monday, 31 March 2014

An Action Word

It's meal time, and one self professed chatterbox in our family prefers to talk instead of eat, half way through our meal, we notice he's not even touched his. Out comes a line from a song.  I'm not sure everyone does this in their families but I have from when the boys were very little. I like to live by the line Dave Dobbyn sings "the less said, the more sung.", so I sing an instruction to the chatterbox. "A little less conversation, a little more action." Thank you Elvis. The meal proceeds.

A little less conversation, a little more action. Psalm 40 has been my dwelling place over the past few weeks.  Definitely worth a read, so are any of the Psalms really, in fact the whole book is good.

When reading Psalm 40, I had a bit of a 'lightbulb' moment, when I realised David, who wrote this psalm, used words like 'put' and 'make' in front of the word trust.  Have you ever noticed that?  'Put' and 'make' are verbs, doing or action words.  Which in turn, makes trust the act.  Psalm 40 verse 3 says "He put a new song in my mouth, a song of praise to our God. Many will see and fear, and put their trust in the LORD." Then verse 4 goes on to say "Blessed is the man who makes the LORD his trust".

Perhaps your assumption, like mine was that trust is something given, or conjured up, or grown over time. But these verses seem to come at trust from a different angle.

I'm going to get all 'Strong's Concordancey' on you for a moment. Because not only can we view trust as an action, but the Hebrew words used in each verse for trust is different. Bare with me, this is kind of interesting. We can see in verse 3 David uses the Hebrew word batach, meaning "confident , sure, bold or careless" Then in verse 4 he uses the word mibtach meaning "refuge, security, hope or assurance".

This stood out to me, let me paraphrase these verses and see if I can show you what I mean. I'll start part way through verse 3 and only the first part of verse 4.  Here goes;

Many will see and fear, and put their confidence and boldness in the LORD.
Blessed is the one who makes the LORD their refuge, security, hope and assurance.

Trust is a word we often use in our church lingo. Forgive me for saying, but I'm just not entirely sure we understand all that these church words mean half the time.  Trust isn't a celestial, spiritual word, it's actually practical. Trust is giving over to another, it's an act, it's actually nearly a physical action, taking something and putting it in a new place.  Or taking something and making, moulding it into another.

Our challenge as a church today is not to come up with more programs to try tempt people into our buildings, or to entertain them while they are here.  Our biggest challenge is total surrender of our trust.  As Simon Guillebaud says in his book  More Than Conquorers, "So the purpose of  total surrender is that our lives will honor him and point others to bring us to a position of such weakness that we are malleable and available to God to accomplish his purposes for his glory"  He then goes on to quote  John Wesley's "Covenant Prayer"

"I am no longer my own, but yours.
Put me to what you will,
Rank me with whoever you will.
Put me to suffering.
Let me be employed for you,
Or laid aside for you.
Exalted for you, or brought low for you.
Let me be full,
Let me be empty.
Let me have all things,
Let me have nothing!
And now, O Father,
You are mine and I am yours. So be it.
And the covenant I am making on earth,
Let it be ratified in heaven. Amen."

Total surrender is trust.  It's laying down our own agenda, putting our faith, what we actually depend upon, onto God.  Taking what is most important to us and laying it, putting it, offering it all to God, no matter what happens, knowing that God is in control.  That is trust.

Sometimes it's easier to speak about such things, rather than do the doing of such things.  I guess that is where we need to get our Elvis on, and sing to ourselves, "A little less conversation, a little more action."


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