A Scout is Trustworthy

I have been involved with the Boy Scouts since I joined Cub Scouts in 1969.  At the beginning of every Boy Scout meeting, we recited the Boy Scout Oath and Boy Scout Law.  It wasn’t until I was an adult that I realized the connection between the values of Scouting and the Bible.  Lord Robert Baden-Powell, the founder of the Scouting movement, once said, “Scouting is nothing less than applied Christianity” – (Scouting & Christianity, 1917).  When asked where religion came into Scouting, Baden-Powell replied, “It does not come in at all. It is already there.  It is a fundamental factor underlying Scouting…” (Religion and the Boy Scout and Girl Guides Movement–an address, 1926).

This is the first in a series of blogs examining the connection between the values of Scouting and the Bible.

A Scout is Trustworthy

A Scout tells the truth.  He is honest, and he keeps his promises.  People can depend on him.

The first point of the Scout Law, “A Scout is trustworthy,” is a value firmly rooted in the Bible.

In the Bible, when men were needed for leadership positions, trustworthiness was a key qualification.  In Exodus 18, Moses was advised by his father-in-law Jethro to “…select capable men from all the people—men who fear God, trustworthy men who hate dishonest gain—and appoint them as officials over thousands, hundreds, fifties and tens.  Have them serve as judges for the people at all times…”  Nehemiah wrote, “All Judah brought the tithes of grain, new wine and olive oil into the storerooms. I put Shelemiah the priest, Zadok the scribe, and a Levite named Pedaiah in charge of the storerooms and made Hanan son of Zakkur, the son of Mattaniah, their assistant, because they were considered trustworthy. They were made responsible for distributing the supplies to their fellow Levites” (Nehemiah 13:12-13).

In Daniel 6:4, Daniel’s enemies could not find anything to accuse Daniel of, because they “could find no corruption in him, because he was trustworthy and neither corrupt nor negligent.”

The book of Proverbs frequently commends trustworthiness:

Proverbs 11:13 –  A gossip betrays a confidence, but a trustworthy person keeps a secret.

Proverbs 12:22 – The LORD detests lying lips, but he delights in people who are trustworthy.

Proverbs 13:17 –  A wicked messenger falls into trouble, but a trustworthy envoy brings healing.

Proverbs 25:13 – Like a snow-cooled drink at harvest time is a trustworthy messenger to the one who sends him; he refreshes the spirit of his master.

Jesus also commends trustworthiness.  “Whoever can be trusted with very little can also be trusted with much, and whoever is dishonest with very little will also be dishonest with much.  So if you have not been trustworthy in handling worldly wealth, who will trust you with true riches? And if you have not been trustworthy with someone else’s property, who will give you property of your own?” (Luke 16:10-12).

Along with trustworthiness, honesty is extolled in the Bible:

Leviticus 19:36 –  Use honest scales and honest weights, an honest ephah and an honest hin. I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of Egypt.

2 Kings 12:15 – They did not require an accounting from those to whom they gave the money to pay the workers, because they acted with complete honesty.

Proverbs 14:5 – An honest witness does not deceive, but a false witness pours out lies.

Proverbs 16:11 – Honest scales and balances belong to the LORD; all the weights in the bag are of his making.

Proverbs 16:13 –  Kings take pleasure in honest lips; they value the one who speaks what is right.

Acts 6:3 – Wherefore, brethren, look ye out among you seven men of honest report, full of the Holy Ghost and wisdom, whom we may appoint over this business.

Philippians 4:8 –  Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.

Trustworthiness is but one of the many values shared by Christianity and the Boy Scouts.  God expects those who follow Jesus to be trustworthy and honest in their dealings with others.   Likewise, a Scout is expected to be trustworthy.  I believe that the fact that the Boy Scouts of America has continued to stand uncompromisingly on the Biblical principles upon which it was founded is the main reason Scouting has continued to flourish over the last 100 years.  I hope and pray that the organization continues to maintain these principles in the future.

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