When our kids were young, they spent each summer day outside. Our neighborhood was full of kids, and the nearby community swimming pool was the epicenter of summer activities. As soon as Memorial Day hit, the kids rode their bikes down to the pool to swim, dive, and trade Pokemon cards. The older kids would order pizza, and the entire summer was overseen by lifeguards just a little bit older than the kids themselves. This was idyllic childhood freedom. How in the world did we allow it?
Just one word: Trust.
If you look it up, Trust is confident expectation.
We had confidence the neighborhood to keep our kids safe. We had an expectation that the drivers to venture out slowly. And we had a confident expectation that the teenage lifeguards would watch our precious children.
Trust is a willingness to take risks. We parents were willing to risk that the neighborhood parents would watch out for all the kids. That the cars would drive safely. The lifeguards would be more interested in our children’s safety than they were in the cute guy/girl in the chaise longue by the deep end. But why were we willing to be vulnerable to these risks? James Davis, a professor of strategic management at Utah State University says:
Trust relies on three qualities:
1. Ability: Does this person have the skills to perform as we expect them to perform? Did the lifeguards go through a training program? Do they look the part (red bathing suit, floatation device on their laps, an intense stare at little kids in the water?)
2.Benevolence: Do they care about my kids? Our life guards came from the very neighborhood they served. We knew these kids growing up, and we knew their parents. We knew they loved our kids, because our neighborhood had a history of mutual benevolence.
3. Integrity: Having a set of values that you live by and others agree with. Again, because we knew our lifeguards, and knew their families, we could trust their integrity. We knew their values, we saw them live their values, and so we could trust them.*
While the story of Pentecost does not involve a summer swimming pool, it is a story of trust coming into fulfillment. Imagine the disciples locked behind closed doors, too frightened to venture out for fear of reprisal. Jesus appears to them, and appeals to their sense of trust: Did the Risen Christ have the abilities He promised? His resurrection, and post resurrection appearances assured them. Did He show benevolence? His ‘Peace be with You’ assures them again. Does He have integrity? Well, his teachings speak for themselves. But with all of this, are the disciples really ready to risk exposure to a dark and deadly world?
Not until Jesus shares His Spirit with them.
It is the Spirit of Christ that binds the disciples into a courageous community. It is the Spirit that encourages them to go beyond what they know and venture into the great unknown trusting that what they say, and who they represent is true.
Trust demands risk, just as faith demands risk.
So often we see people who need help, who are hunkering down in their small rooms, or circling the wagons only trusting family and close friends with the difficulties of illness, injury and disability. Just like the disciples, it is sometimes excruciating to open the doors and allow our community of caregivers to help. How can you trust a complete unknown with the care of your parent, or your beloved spouse?
At AKOTA, we follow Christ’s answer at Pentecost: “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I send you”. When we arrive, I have faith that you will find we have the ability, the benevolence and the integrity you can trust.
The disciples opened the door to risk, and were rewarded with the Spirit.
What do you risk when you open your door to a caregiver for your loved one?
*This blog relies heavily on the work of Prof. James Davis of Utah State University. To check out Prof. Davis’ TEDtalk go to: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s9FBK4eprmA