Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Trust Must Be Earned

As the decades have clicked past, I have become more and more sceptical. Sure things, immanent disasters, obvious trends, common knowledge, conventional wisdom and host of other predictions have disappointed time after time. This is a sin cursed world full of fallen people who are generally in furious pursuit of all the wrong things: fame, wealth, sex, drugs, rock and roll, and a host of others. I am guilty, just like everyone else. I suppose we humans vary in just how guilty we are, but I am in no position to place anyone on a scale of 1 to 10.

I start with the presumption that I have got it wrong and so do most of the people who are trying to convince me of something. You can talk low fat, high protein, junk bonds, savings and loans, mortgage problems, oil prices, stock indexes, safe medicines, toxic foods, mercury in fish, gas mileage, offshore drilling, and on and on. What I am watching for is simple: Who has earned my trust? Who gets it right more often than not? Who really has my best interests in mind?

Trust must be earned. The only complete trust I hope to have in this life is trust in God. And I mean trust in God, not trust in what people tell me about God.

Today I had a great example I of why I should continue to be cautious. I received a letter from a major insurance company. It read in part:

" Dear Mr. Schnake, Now you've got the opportunity to get up to $10 million graded benefit whole life insurance protection at an affordable cost. Your acceptance is guaranteed regardless of the condition of your health. Your premium will never increase.... For a long time we wanted to do something really important for a too-long neglected group of Americans... The solid, decent, dependable Americans who had raised their families...paid their taxes...fought our wars...without asking or getting anything for themselves. So we are happy to offer you a second chance..."

In fact, the company wants to impress me so much with their message, that they wrote on the front of the envelope in a big, bold font:

HERE'S THAT SECOND CHANCE
YOU HOPED FOR
CHARLES G. SCHNAKE

Oops, I've been reading my Dad's mail again. Of course, it is understandable, my Dad has been dead for more than seven years. Nonetheless, Mutual of Omaha is offering him a "second chance". The number of terrific offers that Dad gets has been tapering off each year since his death. But it is good to know that someone still cares so deeply about his insurance needs. It is great to realize how deeply touched they are by how he lived his life. They are so intent on helping him, that they wrote "You can't be turned down for this life insurance" at the bottom of the letter. Maybe I should try to get word to him.
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