Adams column: Leaning on the promises

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Recently I placed a sum of cash in my checkbook and put it in the inner pocket of my jacket; when I went to retrieve it a few minutes later at the grocery store, it was gone.
I immediately retraced my steps to the parking lot and there, wedged up against the wheel of a shopping cart, was one of the bills and a few feet away was my checkbook, the cover opened by the wind and other bills about to blow away. Fortunately, I was able to retrieve all the money and none was lost.
I soon discovered that my jacket had a lining and the pocket I was using had two openings, one through the lining and the other into the actual pocket. I had placed my checkbook through the opening in the lining, but not into the pocket.
I am afraid that often we put our time and energy into objects that merely slip through the openings. We may invest our time and our talents in things we consider important and well meaning, but like the good intentions of Solomon, they end up being empty and futile.
Jesus gives some profound words of wisdom when he instructs his disciples not to lay up treasures on earth, that can easily be destroyed by moths and rust, or stolen by thieves in the night, (or fall through jacket pockets). Rather, he instructs us to lay up treasures in heaven that are indestructible and eternal.
This Sermon on the Mount is full of sage advice about worry and contentment. In our day of anxiety and bill watching, it is so easy for us to exercise not only legitimate care for the needs of the day, but be consumed by worry to the point that we are kept from enjoying the purpose of God in our lives.
Anxious worry can easily show a lack of trust in God’s awareness of our needs and His ability to care for His own according to His promises.
We are challenged to apply Christ’s principles to our lives. Remember WWJD? What Would Jesus Do? How did He provide for the needs of others?We must remind ourselves that in the storms of life, He is present and offers us His care. He has promised never to forsake us or to leave us; but often when trials come (as they regularly do), we forget His promises.
Perhaps our economic downturn can have the effect of turning us upward. Maybe we need to remind ourselves of His promise to provide and protect (Matthew 6:25-34).
We have put enough effort into empty pockets. Maybe it is time to renew our trust in the Lord.
The hymn writer has said in a familiar way: “Turn your eyes upon Jesus, look full in His wonderful face and the things of earth will grow strangely dim, in the light of His glory and grace.”
We must learn to be sure our trust is in the right place.
The Rev. Bill Adams is a retired Presbyterian minister who lives in Salisbury.