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A matter of trust

Aug 9, 2018

For most people, placing trust in other people – or organizations – isn’t really an issue.

We Americans are a trusting people. If someone tells us they are going to do something, we expect them to do it.

I have always said that I trust someone or something until that someone or something betrays my trust.

Take automobiles for example. Like most of you reading this column, when I was younger I sometimes owned and drove a truck or car that I couldn’t completely trust. Most times it was because it was old (because it was all that I could afford), or it had some kind of mechanical issue that I did not – or could not, due to a lack of finances – repair.

Most days the vehicle got me from point A to point B without a problem. However, there were a few times that the vehicle failed me, so I began to form an opinion of mistrust. So as soon as I could, I traded that vehicle and moved on to something else.

With people and organizations, you can’t simply cut your losses and move on.

Human relationships are often complicated by the fact that the people we place our trust in are family members, close friends, professional colleagues or organizations. We want to trust them, and we are sometimes blindsided when our trust is betrayed.

When it comes to spiritual life, I have had friends who have disavowed attending church because the church betrayed their trust. Well, actually, it wasn’t the church that betrayed them, but rather a pastor, other staff member or member of the church that betrayed them.

Being burned by a church is extremely difficult to overcome. No church is perfect because no pastor, minister or member is perfect. We must learn to deal with people and their imperfections if we are to maintain relationships with family, friends, colleagues and those in the Church.

Organizations can create mistrust for some of the same reasons because human beings work for them.

I have been around long enough to hear people voice disparaging things about where they work in a secular business or sacred environment.

Recently, the news has been filled with all sorts of disparaging things said about the leadership of one of our Southern Baptist seminaries. For some, trust placed in the seminary has been broken and may never be repaired. For others, there is hope of reconciliation and brighter days ahead.

When it comes to cooperative giving, Southern Baptists have proven over and over their trust and their generosity – and nowhere has this principle been better illustrated than in support of the Cooperative Program (CP).

While some today disparage CP giving, its impact is undeniable. Since 1925, the CP has played a vital role in Southern Baptists furthering the gospel throughout the world.

Unfortunately, the CP’s original purpose sometimes fades with passing generations, and so has its image among some of our younger brethren.

There are those who see the CP today as a bloated and faceless system that supports legacy ministries that should have been curtailed years ago and relegated to the dustbin of history.

For others who understand its historic impact and scope, the CP is the fuel for one of the largest mission support and missionary sending denominations to exist since the ascension of Jesus into heaven 2,000 years ago.

Wise Southern Baptists should not blindly trust their denomination to do the right thing in every instance, but should seek to actively participate at all levels – their church, association, state convention and national convention. Only by their participation and the transparency of these entities can trust be maintained.

Being a part of a cooperative-minded denomination demands our faithful engagement as we seek to further the gospel of Jesus Christ until the day He returns.

Tim Yarbrough is editor/executive director of the Arkansas Baptist News. Email him at tim@arkansasbaptist.org.

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