IN GOD WE TRUST
A recent op-ed piece appeared in the New York Times this September titled, “The Avalanche of Distrust”. I was fascinated as it talked about the level of trust American’s had not only in relation to the election this year, but in general. Less than one third of folks in the US believed they could trust their fellow citizens. Worst yet, the rates of trust in Millennials dropped to an insanely low 19%.
What happened to us?
As I reflected on the article, the thing that struck me the most was the wonderment of how people saw God. If they can’t trust someone they can physically see, how do they feel about one they cannot? Although there is not a ton of research out there, I’m going to guess that many feel the same way about God that they do about the neighbor they are eyeing warily across the street.
How do we create a culture of trust in God?
Before we get into the obvious jump of trusting church and church people, I think we have a responsibility as we engage our communities (AND our congregations) to wrestle here. Do our own people really trust God? If we are not sure, there is no way we can carry that message to those that are visiting our barbecue or our pews wondering what we believe. Getting this squared away is critical. People will come to your church and your missional community with hard questions, deep disappointment, and optimistic hope. But they’re still cynical, so you have to be sure of your experiences AND your answers.
It is no surprise that six out of the 15 times that the term “trustworthy” comes up in the New Testament, it shows up in Paul’s thoughtful letters to Timothy on church leadership. Trust is the new collateral that determines the value of your ministry. To be sure, let’s review what God says is true, and trustworthy, about himself.
- The Lord’s Mercy is trustworthy (1 Corinthians 7:15). God is merciful.
- The Lord’s Covenant is trustworthy (2 Samuel 7:28). God keeps his end of the bargain.
- The Lord’s Statues & Commands are trustworthy (Psalm 19:7, 111:7). God is fair and just.
- The Lord’s Promises are trustworthy (Psalm 145:13). God is faithful in all he says and does.
We cannot transmit what we don’t have.
We can’t communicate a Kingdom and culture of trust if we are not sure that the God who’s Kingdom it is can be trusted. Knowing that he can be sets the stage for us to communicate to a watching world that he can be trusted. When the storms of life hit, we know we have a solid foundation that is in covenant with us and who is merciful.
GOD is trustworthy.