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  • Writer's pictureW. Austin Gardner

Building Trust

How do we earn the trust of others? What do others do to earn our trust? What is the role of trust in life's relationships? In marriage? In rearing children? In being an employer or employee? In developing a ministry in another culture? Joseph did it extremely well. He learned the language, excelled in his daily chores, honored people, didn't complain about the bumps in his life, forgave those who mistreated him and in times of mystery persevered with a deep confidence that God would stay near.

Joseph built trust so effectively that each authority (Potiphar, the warden, Pharaoh) turned their world over to Joseph. Joseph built trust by keeping his masters' best interests in mind. He not only extended trust to others but the others returned the trust, giving Joseph a strategic place from which to fulfill God's purposes. The Egyptian leaders did this knowing full well Joseph's faith commitment. It seems Joseph did two things extremely well: he adjusted to the cultural patterns that were simply matters of difference (language, dress, social customs), and he did not compromise biblical principles (honesty, worship of the one true God, avoiding self-serving motives and humbly serving others).

As we build trust with others in a new culture, they will naturally reciprocate by trusting us with important parts of their lives. From that place of deep mutual trust, the purposes of God will emerge. And this can happen without compromising our deepest beliefs.

Duane Elmer, Cross Cultural Servanthood

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