I carry the stories of hundreds of people in our community. Stories of pain, joy, hope and loss. Over hundreds, if not thousands, of cups of coffee I’ve been given a tender gift of trust, to hold those stories with patience and love. This is the work of a pastor: to listen, pay attention, and notice where God may be at work, where care might be found, and in some moments, where wisdom might be offered. Our conversations are an exchange of trust and they are a gift.
Trust is never assumed, we do not step into relationships with others by taking trust for granted. Trust is developed and nurtured over time. It is intentional, active, and alert.
Trust is so much more than a nice bonus or optional accessory to life. It is not the cherry on top of our daily rhythms. It is the foundation on which everything is built. Trust is core, central, and vital to every relationship, friendship, business partnership, marriage, and neighbourhood. We need to nurture it in order to experience the best things in life. Here is an important discovery: it is through real people where we discover goodness. It is other people who love us, know us, embrace us, and cheer us on. When we build trust between us and them, we create a conduit for the goodness in them to find its way into our lives. Trust is the basis of love, it is essential.
Jesus spent his life building trust with a small group of people, his disciples. It was a bit odd. If his intention was to start a global movement, building trust with a group of fishermen in a remote fishing village seems like an odd start. Today our culture would have us think that the big politicians, movies stars, popular brands, and internet celebrities should be given our trust. They would have us think that because they are well known, rich, or cool then they deserve our trust and we should do, vote for, or buy whatever they say. Yet trust is not nurtured in these places, it is not reciprocal and in the end, may prove destructive. It is in close relationships that trust is shared and enjoyed. Jesus may have had only a few followers, but the radical and transformative trust that was nurtured in them did not stay with them. Real trust has a way of growing and spreading. It did, and it does.
Our neighbourhoods are places where this kind of trust can be tested and tried. Trust never happens in a vacuum, it can only grow if we apply it. Trust can grow around a table, over a barbecue, with a cup of coffee, walking our dogs, or while dropping kids off at school. However trust is grown, it always requires proximity. Trust requires that we live a little more transparently with others, letting people in and be willing to share in another person’s story. It takes practice to nurture trust, and it takes intentionality to hold the trust of another person.
Who do you trust in your community? What might happen if there was more trust between you and others in your family, home, work, or neighbourhood? Trust is the opposite of fear. May you learn to live fearlessly in your community and enjoy the freedom and hope that trust brings.