Which is more important: money or trust? What do you put your ultimate trust in?
This past week was a meeting of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. The group was presented with the new results of the Edelman Trust Barometer. The results showed that the trust level that people are placing in institutions is plummeting. For example:
1. 62% of people trust corporations less than they did a year ago.
2. Only 38% said they trust business to do what is right – a 20% plunge from last year, putting the level at a ten year low.
3. Only 17% said they trust information from a company’s CEO.
4. 77% said they refused to buy products or services from a company they did not trust.
5. 72% criticized a distrusted company to a friend or colleague.
6. Trust in business magazines is down from 57% to 44% and trust in market analysts is down from 56% to 47%
7. Trust in TV news is down from 49% to 36% and trust in newspaper coverage is down from 47% to 34%.
8. The least trusted industries are automotive and banking.
Mr. Edelman, the creator of this trust barometer said, “America is the new Europe.” The drop in the trust level in American business is now equal to the trust levels in France and Germany, and just under the UK. He said, “It’s going to be harder to rebuild our economies because no institution has captured the trust that business has lost.” In previous surveys, the church has not scored well on earning people’s trust either. We need to do everything possible in our congregations, in our presbyteries, and in our denomination to earn people’s trust.
A professor of political science at the University of Nebraska said, “In the past, when people said they didn’t like big government, the alternative was business, and that was a positive alternative. What we see now that is different in this climate is a lack of trust in government, but also a lack of trust in business. So where do we turn?”
That is part of the message we communicate to our world. When what you have put your trust in fails you, where do you turn? What is it that will not let you down? What will never let you down? People these days are cynical, suspicious, and feeling burned. Some are angry, depressed, and scared. Some don’t know where to turn. Some don’t know who to look to.
Proverbs 3:5-6 says “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will direct your paths.” We have been called to witness to the person of Jesus Christ. People always need Jesus, but particularly now, at this point in our world history, people really need Jesus. Part of our commission is to introduce people to Christ. We need to invest ourselves in people who are not yet in church. We need to invest ourselves in our communities, showing people that we care. We need to move back into our neighborhoods. We need to extend hospitality and open up our homes to people who live around us. If ever there was a time when people needed some good news, it is now.
As we our reminded in the words of one of our great hymns:
“My hope is built on nothing less, than Jesus’ blood and righteousness. I dare not trust the sweetest frame, but wholly lean on Jesus’ name. On Christ the solid rock I stand, all other ground is sinking sand, all other ground is sinking sand.”