But as we have been approved by God to be entrusted with the Gospel, even so we speak, not as pleasing men, but God who tests our hearts. For neither at any time did we use flattering words, as you know, nor a cloak for covetousness—God is witness. (1 Thessalonians 2:4–5—NKJV)

To be trusted is a high privilege. Trust must be earned. Raising teenagers causes a family to face the issue of trust. The teenage years are filled with testing trustworthiness. There are times when a teenager is likely to ask, “Why don’t you trust me?” Often the answer can be boiled down to this simple statement of fact: “Precisely because you are a teenager.” That one response encapsulates many teenage realities. First, parents know the child better than he knows himself; second, his brain development in the area of decision making is the last to mature; and third, he has not lived long enough to have an impeccable track record of trustworthiness.

The root concept of trust is firmness. Trust is related to true. It is a firm belief or confidence as opposed to being squishy and unreliable. Loyalty, integrity, and faith are often implied when someone is speaking of trustworthiness. To be entrusted is to have something confidently delivered to your keeping, care, and custody.

When you approach a friend in order to borrow a tool, you approach on the basis of the trust you have in one another. When your friend grants you your request, he hands over the tool and he has entrusted you. He is acting in confidence as he places in your safekeeping the use and care of the tool. Your friend ought to have every anticipation that you will either return, on time, the tool in the same condition as when it was borrowed as promised, or, if you break the tool, he can expect you to give him an equal tool or better one. You, on the other hand, ought to feel the overweighing debt that you owe, and a nagging sense of duty, until you have returned the tool.

In 1 Thessalonians chapter 2, Paul was both defending and explaining his evangelistic ministry in Thessalonica. He was fending off accusations by the enemy that he was just like other peddlers of words in his day. He explained himself by displaying his heart for the Thessalonians and his desire to acquit the trust of his ministry among them with integrity and grace. He protested his freedom from guilt before both God and man in verse 3.

Paul was called to be the apostle to the Gentiles and was uniquely equipped to that task. God commissioned him in Acts 9:15 specifically to that task while officially signaling the suspension of the Kingdom offer until the time of the Gentiles is past (Romans 11:25–27, Revelation 7:4, 11:2). His was the task of reaching out in his great missionary journeys and taking the Gospel where it had not gone before. God enabled him to see souls come to Christ and to plant churches which he further strengthened and stabilized with his New Testament letters. He discipled his converts so that they could go forth with the Gospel, both lived and proclaimed.

He stated that he had been approved (put to the test in order to approve) much as a precious metal is assayed for its content in order to be proven valuable. His mettle had been proven in his handling of the Gospel truth. He was true to his trust. He followed through with his commitments, he made no excuses, his trust became his ambition, he lived like he was indebted (Romans 1:14–15), and he fulfilled his duty to proclaim the Gospel good news to all who would listen.

He did this, not with an eye to pleasing men by accommodating other’s opinions or desires, but gave the Gospel, remembering all the while that his approval must come from only one Source—God Almighty. Verse 5 further contends that he never used fawning words or hidden self-interest. There was no glory-seeking or purse-lining. He evangelized purely for their soul’s sake and for the glory of God. There was only one commendation which he desired, the commendation of “Well done, thou good and faithful servant. Enter into the joy of your Lord” (Matthew 25:21).

His pattern of evangelism is also the pattern every believer must follow today. You have been entrusted with a thing of eternal value, the Gospel of Salvation through Jesus Christ. If you are born-again you are approved of God to be His messenger to the lost around you. Go and take that message with a pure heart, without fawning words or self-interest, to all who will hear you. Like it or not, you are indebted. Trust and obey.