season, in the fall of the year, Charlie Brown wanted to practice
his kicking abilities. Usually, it was Lucy who volunteered to hold
the football in place for Charlie Brown. Once she had teed the ball
up and was holding it in place, Charlie would step back a ways and
then launch into a dead run. A split second before his attempted
kick, Lucy would always —
and I mean ALWAYS —
snatch up the football from the ground. He gave it his best kick —
right into thin air —
only to throw himself to the ground, flat on his back. I don't
recall him ever being able to kick that football, do you?
But, Charlie Brown loved all his friends, including Lucy. And so,
time after time, the scene repeated itself with the same results.
Many illustrations can be made from this humorous story, but the
point here is the reason for this title. Charlie loved her,
obviously, repeatedly forgave her and forgot about it. But, could he
trust her? I think, with a half-smile, you are quietly saying, "No."
So, let's connect the dots. Many people followed Jesus, were
ministered to by Him and were recipients of His love and compassion.
No one would say He didn't love them. He was Immanuel —
God with us —
showing the love of the Father. He reached out to one and all, even
to those who opposed Him. Until near the end, Jesus even referred to
Judas as "friend." Yet, He didn't trust all those He loved. How can
I say that?
Jesus showed us God's love was extended to all, yet because He
knew what was in the heart of man, He would not commit Himself to
them. Here's John 2:24, 25:
"Now when He was in
Jerusalem, at the Passover, in the feast day, many believed in His
name (yes, these were believers) when they saw the miracles
which He did. But Jesus did not commit Himself unto them, because He
knew all men."
[to top of second column]
Commitment comes from trust. He trusted some, but not all that He
loved. His Gospel would be entrusted to the faithful, the
Today, most of us would agree with this bumper sticker slogan:
"Smile, God Loves You!" However, I probably couldn't sell many
bumper stickers that included: "Smile, God Loves You —
But Can He Trust You?"
Sorry to be so blunt, saints, but, back to our question. God
loves you —
but can He trust you?
Paul was entrusted with the Gospel. He admonished Timothy to
commit the work of God to faithful men who would teach and train
those who would do the same.
I'm sure you would like to trust all those you love. So would I.
So would God. So, let's be that person. Let's be the one both loved
and trusted. And, let's do it as those who have been raised from the
dead – because we have been.
Lucy gave us an example of what "not to do." She became our
Segway into this more serious matter. Whether it's carrying the
ball, holding it in place or passing it to another, let's not drop
the ball on this one.
[By J. ANTHONY SHUFF, Salvation Army Keest Center director]