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Usha and Mercy
Kisumu - Kenya

IN HIS FOOTSTEPS

NO 10 2006
Scripture reading: Luke 16: 1-11

TRUST WITHIN A COMMUNITY
INTRODUCTION

One of the first things a child learns is trust. A small child reaches out for her mother’s hand knowing that holding that hand will keep her safe. A little boy will jump off the wall into his father’s arms knowing that his father will catch him and not let him fall.

Trust is an instinctive human quality. Trusting one another was the way we once lived in small communities. Doors were kept open. Strangers were invited in for a glass of water or tea. When a promise was made, the person to whom it was given knew that it would be kept. If a secret was shared, it was kept. Somewhere along the way, as we progressed more materialistically, we began to lose trust in each other.

Today we are suspicious of a stranger. We keep our doors and gates firmly locked. We teach our children not to trust anyone. Some people proudly say,” I never trust anyone.” Is this really true? Can we work in a place where there is no trust? When we come to work every day, we do our work to the best of our ability, with the trust that our employer will pay us at the end of the month. What would it be like if we did not have this trust? We would not do any work at all and the atmosphere would be angry and frustrating. When there is no trust between friends and colleagues, misunderstandings easily occur. Lack of trust makes us live in fear. Living in fear erodes community life.

Trust is needed to have a happy family life too. When the wife is suspicious of her husband, life becomes hell for him. When the husband does not trust his wife as an equal partner in decision making, family life becomes frustrating and unhappy.

LISTEN WITH YOUR HEART

From scripture, we learn how Jesus called the disciples one by one to come and live with him. There was something about him that commanded trust, for Peter and John and Andrew left their homes, families and followed Jesus until his death.

How do we learn to be trust worthy and to give and receive trust? The first thing we need to do is to be completely honest. Being honest affects everything in our lives. We depend on other people’s honesty all the time - we expect the milkman to give us pure milk and not add water to it, the bus conductor to give us the right change, on our helpers at home not to steal from us, on our friends when we turn to them for advice. Similarly, they too depend on our honesty. Our boss expects us to come to work on time and put in the needed hours without constantly checking on us. Our colleagues trust us when we go for lunch and coffee breaks to take the correct amount of time so that they too can have some time off.

Being trustworthy also means being the kind of person whom those in distress would come to in their time of trouble. To be this kind of person we need to hold honesty and trust as a basic value. If something is to be kept confidential, it is up to us { every individual} to keep it so. If we hear gossip or rumour, it is up to us to keep it from spreading further.

Jesus trusted in his Father’s love. He knew that His Father had called him, his “Beloved” and his trust in Him enabled him to reach out to the sick, the poor and the outcaste. Each one of is also the Father’s beloved. We too need to believe in this, and trust in it with all our heart so that we too, like Jesus, might do the work the Father sets for us. It may be driving, nursing, cleaning the floors, cooking, operating, writing a report or finance work. We need to be honest in our work so that others may be touched and healed.

GO AND DO LIKEWISE

By the time I got to know Peter, leprosy had made his hands and feet quite useless. The only thing he could do was sell eggs with his worn out palms. He used to cycle in a specially made cart and had a big red book in which he kept all our accounts. Because he couldn’t write, someone had to write it for him. Most of us liked and admired Peter and wrote our accounts correctly. But sometimes, people played with him and wrote the wrong amount. Peter was aware of this, and it hurt him very much when people played with his trust. Still, he continued to trust and often told me that we need to trust even when our trust has been betrayed. The more we trust, the more trusting becomes part of our nature.

Jesus taught us several lessons on trust. The first was in the way he fully trusted His Father’s love for him even at times when that love seemed far away. This trust enabled Jesus to overcome the temptations, walk on water, heal the sick and raise then dead. This love also made him trust in his Father’s will for him, whether that will was to heal or preach or walk to his death.

The second lesson on trust came after Peter the disciple, had betrayed Jesus. Much later, Jesus asked Peter, “ Do you love me?”

“ Yes, Lord,” replied Peter. Jesus showed us that love could rebuild trust. It was on Peter that Jesus built his church.

The early Christians lived on trust. They put all their money and income into a collective purse and trusted each other with it. Being a Christian was being an enemy of the state, and each person trusted the other with his or her safety.

Each person believed that the other would do only works of goodness, and not evil and so did not live in fear. Christian communities once lived in trust and love.

Today, we too need to get back to our roots of love and trust.

FOR YOU TO THINK AND DISCUSS

  • Whom do you find it easy to trust? Whom do you find it difficult to trust?
  • What three qualities are needed before you consider someone trustworthy?
  • Who in your community do you find trustworthy? Why?
  • Give an example from the Bible of a trusting person.

FOR YOU TO MEDITATE ON

Nobody likes me Lord. They all move away when I walk by.
They don’t trust me, because many times I have let them down.
I have lied, cheated and gossiped. Yet, I’m trying…….
trying so hard to be trustworthy.

Someone reminded me that I am your beloved,
and that on me your favour rests.
If I am your beloved, then you must also trust me Lord.

When I feel like your beloved, I do trust you Lord,
I can do anything when I feel so loved.
But the problem is that most of the time I don’t feel so loved.

That’s when you need me, I hear you say,
Just close your eyes and listen
to the words of the Father echoing deep in your heart.
‘This is my beloved son/ daughter, on whom my favour rests.’

These are words I can trust Lord,
These are words which will make me into a trustworthy person.

Amen

USHA JESUDASAN - ushajesudasan@gmail.com

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