Postcript for July 1
In a brief - and quickly reversed - flirtation with practicality, I once began studying
economics at A-Level. (I soon gave it up to study Geology instead, never imagining for
a moment that the sand volcanoes and liquefaction I read about with such fascination
would one day be a feature of my back garden.) One of my teachers, an eccentric
character with a hideous taste in ties, stood in front of us with a pound coin and asked
us what it was a pound of. We’d learned about Britain leaving the Gold Standard so we
knew it wasn’t a pound of gold. We thought for a while silently and drew a blank. He
told us it was a pound of confidence, nothing else. Without confidence in the value of
money, it was worthless.
As I take the occasional banknote out of my wallet these days I often reflect on
his words. But what generates confidence – in money or anything else? Confidence
isn’t something easily manufactured. It grows through good decisions made or visions
clearly set out. The building of confidence takes time. And confidence in institutions is
rare without trust in people.
In the New Testament several Greek words are translated as “confidence”. The stress
is usually on trust in God or in Christ or in one’s fellow believers. St Paul, after giving
the Christians in Corinth a piece of his mind about their numerous shortcomings, says “I
rejoice because I have complete confidence in you”. That might seem bizarre to us - like
beating someone up and then buying them a coffee – but to express things that way
round is a great act of faith in others. It can bring the very best out of those who have
heavy responsibilities or are charged with difficult tasks.
Sometimes we have to take the risk on trusting someone first.
Ven Lynda Patterson