Trinity Sunday – June 4, 2023
Jane Shelton, CRE

There is no better feeling than that of self-worth.  God, in all his greatness and ability to create the heavens and the earth, and all things on the earth, created humans to provide care over the all that God has made, including animals of the earth, the sea, and the air. 

We do ourselves a disservice when we allow ourselves to be under the control of someone else’s thoughts of us or about us.

Should we worry about what others think of us when we have been crowned with glory and honor by God?  God trusts us enough to have authority over all that has been created, and that we care for them and nurture them the way we are cared for by God.  God trusts us to make wise decisions.

If God provides us with such authority, why do we doubt our abilities when others question us or when others bully us because things are not done the way they think they should be done?   When we allow ourselves to be consumed by this doubt, it does not give us the confidence to lead, and to do God’s work.

When we consider living with the confidence that we know God trusts us with, we are able to make important decisions and do important work.  We come to realize there is nothing better in knowing you have others around you, others that God places in your life to help you get through difficult times, and to celebrate exciting successes as well.

As humans, we have a big responsibility for the works of God’s earth, and God knows we are up for the task.

Are we like the Psalmist singing praises for all this responsibility?  I mean, let’s face it, it is quiet the playground we have here on earth.  God gives us the honor and the freedom to experience it and all that dwells on it.  While we enjoy it, while we cherish it, we also care for it, and it is important that we care for it properly so that others after us will also be able to enjoy what has been deeded for us to pass along to future generations.

As I have shared with many of you before, I grew up in rural Berrien County, and all of my uncles’ farmed tobacco.  At just six years old, I was tasked by one of my uncles to drive the tractor for the harvester.  I was so excited to be with the rest of my siblings and cousins working in the field that I could not wait until it was my turn to learn to take the responsibility of this new job.  I could not reach the pedals of the tractor, so a lever was rigged from the brake so that when I lifted it, the tractor and harvester would stop, and when I lowered it, the tractor and harvester would move forward.

This tractor was not the big green tractor that Jason Aldean sings about, but a small red Farmall, that moved slowly down the rows of the tobacco fields as the croppers and the stringers on the harvester could gather the tobacco and string it on a stick so that it could be sent to the barn to be cured.

In my first lesson of driving the tractor, I was shown all the important switches, pulls and gauges, how to turn the steering wheel while watching the direction that the tires moved, and most importantly, the lever to pull up to stop and to press down to go.

The most important job was for me to be sure to keep the tires in the ruts of the main row so that the harvester didn’t veer one way or the other so as not to damage the tobacco rows or the people on the harvester.  I had to keep my eye on the tire and adjust the steering wheel ever so slightly to keep it as straight as possible.

At the end of the row, at least in the beginning, someone older would turn the tractor back into the next row for me to again resume my task of keeping the eye on the tractor tire. 

When my Daddy would take me fishing, he taught me how to bait my hook, how to sling my pole or rod into the water, how to sling it so that it didn’t get tangled into the nearby limbs, which was not an easy task as the best fishing spots often were just under the limbs that I tried to avoid.

I had to keep my eye on the pole or the bobber, and wait until I got a hit to set the hook and reel in the fish.  I learned that timing was a very important factor in knowing exactly when to jerk the rod so as to set the hook and be able to reel in the fish, because if you jerked too soon, the fish would swim away, or the hook would not be fastened properly and the fish would fall off the line while you tried to reel it in.  I had to focus my attention on the fishing pole and the way it felt in my hand.

When my mom taught me how to boil water, I had to learn how to watch the pot, or more accurately the water in the pot, to make sure it did not boil over.  The eye of the stove was turned up until the water started to boil, and then the heat could be brought back down to the right temperature so that the water would continue to boil, but not boil over.  Eventually, I got the hang of it by watching the water and the speed of the boiling so that I could attain the right temperature to keep it from boiling over. 

In all three of these stories, I was given responsibility to complete a task, but first, I had to learn the process.  I had to be willing to listen to what someone was teaching me to do, and then I needed to follow instruction.  I had to learn by listening and watching, and then move into action.  A very important part of following instruction is remembering what I was told, then putting that information into practice.  With each successful attempt, my confidence would grow so that I could move on to the next task.

Eventually, I would learn to guide the tractor back into the row by myself, but I had to work my way up to having this responsibility.  I learned to fish with two poles in the water, and I learned to cook with more than one pot at a time on the stove.

With each progression, I was given accolades of achievement and encouragement to continue on to the next task.  It’s how we grow in confidence and are encouraged to move forward.

In life, God has provided us with everything that we need to succeed.  Will we succeed at everything that we attempt to do, no, but the important thing is that we take the initiative to learn and be responsible enough to follow through with the task at hand?

God sent Jesus to be our teacher, and in the short time that Jesus was with us here on earth, he showed us how to live, how to be in relationship and love others.  Whether or not we follow the instruction is up to us, and whether or not we grow spirituality depends on the time we are willing to study, to read and re-read the stories of Jesus, and put them into action.  Like the disciples before us, we are watching, practicing under supervision, asking questions, making mistakes, and learning from them.  We are students of Christ made into interns that is a life-long process.

We can only bring others into this internship through the Holy Spirit that is dependent on who Jesus was and is, and Christ keeps pointing to the Father, and this is the power of the Trinity, the fullness of God, to which we are attached as students.

God trusts us to do the job, and developed us in creation to have the ability to do the tasks at hand that are placed before us.  Some of these task we can do by ourselves, and others require the help of those around us.

Jesus is our biggest cheerleader, our biggest fan and, most importantly, our biggest teacher.  Jesus showed us how to do things, and through the Holy Spirit still inspires us to step out of our comfort zone.  The Spirit moves us and others into action.

We are nurtured by the grace and mercy shown by God’s love for us through the tough tasks at hand until we are fully prepared to carry through on his word whether we know it or not. 

Then, in the loving and reassuring parental way, Jesus tells us he is with us to the end of time.  Always by our side, ready to right the ship when we toss and turn in the water.  With the reassurance of Jesus with us in life, we can go out with confidence and joy knowing that God is with us, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, so that we can live in the fullness of the Trinity.  O Lord, our Sovereign, how majestic is your name in all the earth!

*Cover Image from Stushie Art; used with subscription.