When we gather on Sunday mornings, one of our team’s goals is to be faithful to Christ and His people. Speaking in baseball terms, we’re not aiming for a “home run” every week, but we would like to have a perfect at-bat and possibly get a single or lay down a sacrifice bunt. Our goal is to be faithful. Sing and preach God’s word. Declare and demonstrate the gospel. Encourage the saints and evangelize the lost. We want to worship Christ from beginning to end. Faithfulness is the goal.
Sometimes, faithfulness doesn’t seem exhilarating. Faithfulness doesn’t capture headlines. It doesn’t always turn heads. It might even seem not very interesting sometimes.
But some ‘faithful’ days are sweet. Sunday was one of those days. Our service teams were there early like they always are. Our people sang like they always do. I tried to preach a faithful sermon from Psalm 20. It was a faithful day. But it was sweet.
Here’s one main reason Sunday stood out to me: it was the attitude and joy of our people. I know this will sound very “1st-world”, but a couple of things were working against us on Sunday. For one, the fires in our area have caused smoke to fill the air. The air quality is awful. On top of that, the building that we use had some technical difficulties that caused the internet and the air conditioning not to work. The heat was working instead. With the smoke outside, we could not open the doors to help cool the building. Yet, what did our people do? They sang loudly. They listened attentively. They prayed with and for one another. They didn’t complain but thanked God. It was a joy to be in church on Sunday.
Some May Trust in Chariots and Some in Horses
You know the finish to that line, “But we will trust in the name of the Lord our God.” Psalm 20:7 is a very important verse for God’s people. Chariots and horses indicate human strength, ingenuity, and power. They are things that can be measured and stats that show progress or advantage.
These verses have hit my heart through the years in moments where I’ve struggled with disappointment and discouragement. I firmly believe in the principle of watching my life and watching my teaching, I think that all the issues we battle with as humans come from our “heart” or the center of our being. So, in these times of disillusionment, I often pray for God to search my heart and reveal the reason for the struggle. More times than I can remember, the Lord has shown me that my discouragement was due to trusting in something other than Him.
What I’ve started to ask more recently has been, what are my behaviors or emotions that reveal where I put my trust? This was part of my sermon yesterday. My sinful emotions are normally anxiety or criticism. My behaviors are using mind-numbing scrolling through sports. See, rather than turning to God in prayer or finding counsel from His word, I try to control the narrative in my mind or turn to something that I think will take my mind off the issue.
We’re tempted to trust in measurables in adversity. When we look across the metaphorical battlefield and see an army bigger than ours or an enemy stronger than us, it could be the cultural war on morality, the business competitor flooding the market with their product, or the sin that so easily snares us. We measure our strength and capacity compared to others and are found wanting. Then, we fret, worry, and stew (to quote Bill Heard). A story like this is in 2 Kings 6 when the Syrian army surrounded Elisha’s house. Elisha’s servant freaked out (like most of us would), and Elisha prayed that God would open his eyes to help from heaven. At that moment, his servant saw the mountains filled with horses and chariots from heaven.
But we’re also tempted to trust in measurable success. There’s a story in 2 Chronicles 21:1 about Satan tempting David to take a census of his people. This verse comes directly after chapters about David’s victories: conquering the Syrians and Ammonites, driving out giants in the land, and his great leadership of the nation. At that moment, Satan dabbled the carrot to number the people. Why? In success, David possibly thought, ‘This will show how far we’ve come. This will reveal how powerful we are.’ Yet David never was the hero of Israel’s victories. God was. In the following verse of 2 Chronicles 21, the Lord was unhappy with David’s census and brought a curse on Israel, costing 40,000 people their lives.
I bring this up in this post as a reminder to us at CLF. The Lord has done a wonderful work among us. He’s the One who has brought increase and influence. As I said on Sunday, Psalm 20:7 isn’t forbidding us from counting or measuring horses and chariots. It’s forbidding to put our trust in them. Attendance numbers, seating capacity, giving projections, and other measurables can be numbered and considered. But they’re not to be trusted. God is faithful in small things, just as in big things. As I mentioned above, our goal is to be faithful.
This Coming Sunday
This Sunday, September 3rd, we will start a new series in the Great Commission. This is to ensure that we’re on the same page with the Lord and His mission. It’s also to help us see the importance of all of us being on God’s mission. We hope that this series will be filled with practical ways for you to represent Christ and that this will equip you as you serve Him in our world.
Our service is at 10:00 a.m. at Jacoby Auditorium.
From the Cheap Seats
- Watch this catch: https://www.mlb.com/news/czech-outfielder-tomas-chadim-slides-through-fence-on-catch?partnerID=mlbapp-iOS_article-share
- With fantasy football upon us, I’m sure many of you are wondering about payoffs for the losers of your league. Well, here’s an idea: https://www.mlb.com/news/giants-broadcaster-dave-flemming-is-bat-boy-for-a-game
- How in the world did this ball not go out of the ballpark or roll off the wall: https://www.mlb.com/news/luke-raley-hits-inside-the-park-home-run-vs-giants?partnerID=web_article-share
To watch or listen to the sermon described in this post, please click here.
Have a great week!