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“A Matter of Trust”

Matthew 6:19-34

Study Guide for October 10, 2004

Proverbs 6:6 tells us to go the (1) _____.  This creature has no (2) _____________ and yet gathers its

(3) _______ at harvest.  Good advice!  The ant is a good example of being industrious and having a good work ethic.

Now 600 or pages over, we find Jesus telling us not to (4) ________ about what we will (5) ______ and (6) _________.  We are warned against hording (7) _________ and having two (8) ___________.   So, what’s going on here, first we are told it’s a good thing, now it’s not so good.

First, Jesus isn’t telling us to sit on a hilltop and do nothing.  This isn’t a way out of (9) ___________.  God in all likely hood will not send the (10) _________ to feed us as he did for (11) _________.  That was a special case.  So God does not want us selling all we have and moving to a hilltop to await the second coming.

Second, the ant is programmed by (12) __________ to go out and get more and more.  There is a colony of hundreds of thousands to feed.  And if ant children eat as much as teenagers, it takes a lot.  Work is also part and parcel of our human nature as well.  Even before the (13) ________, the man and woman were put in the garden to (14) ______________________________________. (Genesis 2:15).  So, work is not a punishment for the sin.  (15) ________ is what was added.

(16) __________ are not ants.  There is a fundamental difference between them and us.  We are

(17) ______________ of a higher power.   We are aware of a God in a personal way and are aware of God’s  (18) _________________ for us.

So in our work, we are aware of God’s desire for us.  In the midst of gathering, we are to (19) ________ treasure in a different way.  We tend to treat this verse as a (20) _________ of (21) __ _______ and

(22) ______ ______.    This treasure is not about the after life somewhere out there, but living (23) _____ with God.  How we work and what our (24) ____________  are now, affect the way we live with God now.

If our (25) ____________ are in control then (26) ______ is not.

We are to be aware of God in the here and now.  Part of our purpose is to (27) ________ ourselves to God.  God is the (28) ________ of life not the things that we possess.   In our time, we are possessed by our possessions. 

So, lastly, in our working, we are to be aware of God’s purpose.  That purpose is here described as: firstly, the (29) ___________.  Not a geographic realm, nor heaven out there, but God’s rule in our hearts now.  The Kingdom is among you, was the first message Jesus preached.  The kingdom is here and now, and how we live now in that kingdom shows what is important to us.  The second purpose of the kingdom is (30)_______________.  That is the way God is in his being.  We are live the way God is.

Our concern is to live God’s way.  God has promised to care for us.  God has promised that we will have the things we need.  With the gift of work and God’s providential care, we will live.  Our first priority is not (31) ___ ______________ of wealth.  It is the kingdom and living with God as priority in the here and now.  As we work for the kingdom, God will take care of our needs.

What is our top priority?  If it is the kingdom, then it is a matter of (32) ___________.

Answers: 1. ant. 2. commander. 3. food. 4. worry. 5. eat. 6. wear. 7.treasure. 8. masters. 9. working. 10.raven. 11. Elijah. 12.instinct. 13. sin. 14. work it and take care of it. 15. sweat. 16. humans. 17. conscious. 18.design and will. 19.store. 20.dualism. 21.up there. 22.down here. 23. now. 24.priorities. 25.possessions. 26. God. 27.submit. 28. source. 29.kingdom. 30.righteousness. 31.accumulation. 32. trust.

Monday, October 11, 2004.  It is no accident that Luke puts together the parable of the Pharisee and tax collector and his blessing on the children. Luke 18:9-17.  The parable is about those who acknowledge their need of God.  The tax collector saw his need of God while the Pharisee saw God’s need of him.  Luke then takes us straight to the blessing of the children by Jesus.  Children are most trusting.  They believe us about Santa and the tooth fairy, they believe us when we tell them there are no monsters under their beds, and they believe us when we tell them we love them and will protect them.  Children are trusting.  We, their parents, need that trusting attitude as well.  We let life teach us about disappointment.  We let life, and its untrusting ways, keep us from trusting God.   We trust God only as much as we love God.  In what areas of our life do we need to be more trusting?  How can we trust God in spite of the lessons of life?

Tuesday, October 12, 2004.  We can trust God when we are most aware of the nature of God.  As our children trust us because they know us, so it is with our trust of God.  Abraham is a good example of trust.  God had called him and Sarah to go to a place they had never heard of; and they went.  Why did they go?  Verse 11 of Hebrews chapter 11 tells us this: “because he (Abraham) considered him (God) faithful who had made the promise.”  Read Hebrews 11.  All those people exhibited a trusting attitude to God.  They suffered hardship and sometimes death, yet they did not give up their trust in God.   We are rarely faced with that kind of trouble, yet we find trust so difficult sometimes.  Why is that?

Wednesday, October 13, 2004.  An element of trust that we sometimes ignore is obedience.  In 1 Kings 17:7-16 the widow of Zarephath wanted to die, her and her son.  She was going to cook their final meal.  Elijah told her to feed him first, and then feed her and her son.  Finally, she complied.  The promise was there would be oil and flour unending.  To get that promise, she had to obey.  Without obedience there would only have been the final meal.  The unsung quality of trust is obedience.  When God calls us to ministry and to faithfulness in our stewardship of time and money, we must relinquish control, for only in giving up control do we open ourselves up to the promise of God.

Thursday, October 14, 2004.  Matthew 14:23-34.  We usually think of this text as a failure.  Peter, after all, didn’t quite make it to Jesus.  He failed and sank into the sea forcing Jesus to rescue him.  But there is a quality here that we need to celebrate.  Peter had the courage to try.  The other eleven stayed in the safety of the boat.  But to attempt the act of trust, we must first step out.  We see the issue of control again.  In the boat we are in control, on the ocean God is.  While Peter didn’t quite make it to Jesus, at least he got out of the boat!  What about us?

Friday, October 15, 2004When it comes to trust, we have a hard time.  One of the reasons I believe we have such a hard time is the fact that we confuse our wants and our needs.  We make essential to our lives those things that make our life better.  We make a certain standard of living a need.  In Philippians 3 and 4, Paul helps us to put things into perspective.  It is Christ that is most important.  It is attaining the resurrection of the dead that will make all things worth while.  It is in helping those around us that we find our own needs met (4:10-19).  It is when we learn that life isn’t about us, that’s when we learn we can trust.

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