Trustworthiness: Core Value of Accountability

By Rev. Fr. Eva Chuma Nnamene

A few years ago, there were rumours which eventually turned to be true about the eventual collapse of some banks including Intercontinental Bank, First Inland Bank, and few others. In spite of the Central Bank's known policy to prevent total collapse of banks after the colossal death of Savannah Bank in the 1990s, people scampered to close their accounts in those banks or to make huge withdrawals of their monies to prevent losing out completely.

They did that because they lost trust in those banks. In another development, an apprentice entered a gentleman's agreement with a business mogul to serve and to learn his merchandise for 7 consecutive years. The apprentice served his master very well, and also was very proficient in the commerce. At the end, it was time for his master to settle him.

Instead of doing what was agreed upon 7 years ago, his affluent master settled him below the agreement's stipulations. The apprentice was heartbroken, disappointed, and lost trust in his master. Individuals fail others. Even institutions fail people. Who then is to be trusted? One Sunday a preacher ended his sermon by admonishing his audience to: "put your trust in God, not in your bank, and certainly, not in any person. Only God does not disappoint. Man does disappoint".

"Mmadu na-agharipu" sang a soloist. But think about it: should people really not to be trusted? Remember the Igbo proverb: enwe si na obu so nwa ya bu n'afo ka ya ga agoro. So one should not be trustworthy? As stewards of God's gifts to us, we should be trustworthy. Trustworthiness is one of the core values of accountability.

As human beings, in one way or another, we all engage in some social or natural contracts about our lives or about our activities or about our belongings. To be trustworthy is to follow through this agreement as was entered upon by all concerned. To be trustworthy is to deserve the trust of others. To be trustworthy is to be reliable.

To be trustworthy is to be un-deceitful. To be trustworthy is to be accountable. God declares that those who would be leaders, or in our own words, stewards, of thousands, of hundreds or of fifties, must be people who fear God, people who say the truth, and people who hate dishonesty (Exodus 18: 21). But the sons of Eli did not toe the path of their father.

They were dishonest, and they took bribes, and they perverted justice (1 Samuel 8: 3). Stewards like deacons must be people of dignity, not people double-tongued or people found with sordid wealth (1 Timothy 3: 8). As stewards, we have been entrusted with much.

Jesus teaches that as such much is expected of us. One of such things expected of us is also trustworthiness (Luke 12: 48). St Paul was very practical and emphatic when he said as servants of Christ and stewards of the mysteries of God . it is required of stewards that one be found trustworthy (1 Corinthians 4: 1-2).

Jesus taught that he who is found to be trustworthy in small things will have greater things entrusted onto him (Luke 16: 10-12). The bottom-line is that if we are trustworthy, we could be accountable. We need a certain degree of trustworthiness to be accountable. Let us work hard to be worthy stewards - people whom others can described as "tested and trusted!"

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