Worthy of Trust?
Childhood memories of the days before credit and debit, bring to mind the sign on the cash register that said, “In God we trust, all others pay cash.”
Due to the fickle nature of the human heart that Jeremiah describes as deceitful and wicked, we can often find ourselves wondering about the issue of trust. Who is worthy of our trust, and why? Many of those who are trying to escape addictions and change their lives wrestle with the bad choices they had made previously. Often these choices were the result of misplaced trust that ended in incarceration or mental health issues.
It’s Hard to Trust
It is not an easy matter to avoid the deceptions and misinformation of our age. As a result, it may be hard to trust. And yet, there is a trust that is essential to our survival. We need to be able to make sound judgments about information, products, services, and the people who provide them. Yet many in the religious, political, and scientific spheres of late, have proven themselves to be self-serving cons. So who is worthy of our trust? And how do we know?
The story of Lydia in the scripture illustrates the power of trust. She was among a group of women who met Paul and his fellow-workers at the river to hear the message of the gospel. An unusual woman of her day, she had her own business selling luxury purple cloth, and her whole household trusted her and followed her lead. When she was convicted by God that Paul was telling the truth and was worthy of trust, she and all her household were baptized. Her trustworthiness in turn persuaded Paul to trust her and accept her hospitality.
It is certainly true that trust breeds trust. Abraham’s example illustrates this concept. God had made good on his promise to bless Abraham with a son, even though his wife was well beyond childbearing age. Isaac, the son of promise, was the one through whom the promises of many descendants would be fulfilled. But the problem was, “How to find a wife for Isaac from among Abraham’s relatives?” Abraham had to trust God, and Abraham’s servant had to trust them both. Without trust how could the servant travel to a distant land with 10 camels and servants in hopes of finding these relatives they had left behind in Haran decades earlier.
But God was actively directing the mission, and the servant’s trusting prayers were answered even before he finished praying. Rebecca had come at just the right moment and had even offered to water his camels, a laborious task. Amazingly, Rebecca’s family was willing to trust the servant’s story and more surprisingly, Rebecca was willing to leave the next day! Her trust in God and the servant’s story was perhaps an answer to her prayers too.
Beware the Untrustworthy
Jesus warned us that we cannot trust everyone, even those who claim to speak for or worship God. There are many charlatans, charismatic visionaries, and false teachers. So Jesus advised us to watch and look for the fruit. It is what people do that shows whether they are trustworthy or not. Good trees produce good fruit, and bad trees produce bad fruit, so we need to examine the fruit of a person’s life to determine whether they are worthy of trust.
Paul was keenly aware that the brethren in Corinth had ‘trust issues’ and he found himself having to ‘boast’ about all the trials he had suffered in order to bring them the truth. The brethren were being subverted and led astray by others who were teaching Gnostic heresies and false doctrines in Jesus’ name. Paul admonished the people to look to those faithful teachers who had committed their lives to following Christ’s example, and imitate them. Those worthy of trust would be humble, honest, and motivated by their desire to care for the needs of others.
In Fiery Trials
We can trust God because he loves us, and his priorities and values are for our ultimate good. The world and its institutions do not deserve this kind of trust. The world does not love you, and its values are in direct conflict with God’s ways. Hananiah, Azariah, and Mishael were followers of God who felt the full wrath of the state of their time. Given a ‘second chance’ to obey the mandate to worship the great golden image, they would not comply. Though facing death in the fiery furnace, they boldly proclaimed that they would not serve Nebuchadnezzar’s gods.
They were trusting in God to deliver them, one way or another. And God did deliver them! It was also a profound lesson to all the Babylonians in the royal assemblage, when the three men emerged from the furnace unscathed. In fact it would seem, that Christ himself, walked with them through the flames. Life is a matter of trust, and the choices we make will determine our outcomes. This is why Paul could say with confidence that we are conquerors because of Christ who loved us and sacrificed for us. We need to always evaluate situations to determine, “Who should we trust and why?” Men may disappoint or be untrustworthy at times, but God is always faithful, so we can put our confidence in him always.
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