I remember an earnest Sunday School teacher many years ago taking a chair and asking us whether we would be willing to sit on it. 'Do you trust it to bear your weight?' he asked.
Last night a couple of good friends visited our apartment with a chocolate cake for Carol. We sat around our table with expectation as the cake was cut (and ice-cream was added). Suddenly, with great drama, I began sinking at the table. Carol could barely hold back hysteria as I gently disappeared from sight. She said my face showed utter astonishment, like encountering some out-of-body-experience. I sank to the floor with the chair in pieces around me. I had not been swinging on it or misbehaving in other ways. Actually, it looked one of the more recent pieces of furniture in the apartment. But there it was in fragments with me awkwardly splayed on the floor.
I never thought for a moment it wouldn't support me. My Sunday School teacher went on to talk about trusting Jesus Christ as a friend you can depend on. Well, I certainly want to do that....but the broken chair speaks of a lower order of trusting in things and methods to work for you. Sadly, I see some of us trusting in things and methods in the church. Of course, I particularly think of preaching when, sometimes, preachers just assume that such-and-such a method will work. They put their trust in it....when it can be so fallible. We need to put our trust in God and be open to his ways, which are not ours!