Formations 10.02.2022: Earning Trust

Luke 16:10-17

Whom do you trust the most? How did you get to the place that you trust this person so much? Did they sweep in and make impressive claims of faithfulness? Did you entrust them with something important and precious within five minutes of meeting them, and things turned out fine?

If that has been your experience, then with all due respect…What? That’s not how most of us make judgments about who is trustworthy and who is not. On the contrary, most of us learn whom we can trust in small steps. We know that lofty claims are meaningless if there are not behaviors to back them up. We know that the people we trust with big things are the ones who have proven they can be trusted with smaller things.

Furthermore, the same thing usually works in reverse as well. Why do we distrust some people? It’s possible that they made a terrible first impression by doing something brazenly irresponsible, but more often people lose our trust in little steps: they don’t show up when they said they would, they don’t finish the task you were counting on them to complete. Eventually, we decide that such people can’t be trusted to follow through with their promises.

In this week’s passage, Jesus raises the question of faithfulness in giving. Those who are faithful in a little will also be faithful in much, he says, and those who are dishonest in a little will likewise be dishonest in much. In other words, we tend to grow into greater responsibilities…or slip into greater deficits of trust.

This is a challenging text because it invites us to imagine that God is at least as wise as we are in deciding whom to trust. We may want to look good in the eyes of others—and if we’re sharp enough, we can even fool people into thinking we can be trusted with responsibility. But God knows the truth. God knows if we are ready to follow with wholehearted devotion or if we’re liable to be distracted by other, competing voices demanding our attention. No one can serve two masters, after all. That’s why it is important to remember who our true Master is and follow him alone.


• Do you consider yourself trustworthy? Who would testify to your trustworthiness?
• How does the way we handle God’s blessings reveal our potential to handle even greater things?
• Why does Jesus say that one cannot serve both God and wealth (v. 13)?
• What happens when we try to serve two masters?
• What does this lesson about faithful stewardship teach us about life in God’s kingdom?

Darrell Pursiful is the editor of Formations. He is an adjunct professor at Mercer University and an active member of the First Baptist Church of Christ in Macon, Georgia.


For further resources, subscribe to the Formations Teaching Guide and Commentary. Additionally, the Smyth & Helwys Bible Commentary series is a scholarly but accessible means for enhancing your study of each lesson.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email