I was recently tasked with writing a series of six 10-15 minute devotionals on the topic of Trustworthiness using the six Multiple Intelligences. I would like to share the results of that project with you.
Day 1 – Spatial and Interpersonal intelligence
Give students 3 minutes to draw a sketch of what they think God physically looks like. Encourage the timid to give it a shot.
Have students take 30 seconds and describe to the person next to them what they think God looks like.
Now, have them turn to someone different and describe a person in their life that looks physically like their description of God.
We know that God the Father has not revealed himself with a physical body. We only have guesses of what Jesus looked like historically. The Holy Spirit appears as a dove or fire on some biblical occasions. Why, then, do we picture God the way that we do?
God is beyond our ability to understand or imagine, yet we relate to him. One way we relate to him is by developing an image in our minds of what he looks like. If we see God as trustworthy and timeless, maybe we picture a kind, bearded, old man. If we picture a cruel God, maybe we see a fiery gaze and a lightning bolt in-hand.
Close your eyes. Consider your image of what God looks like. All our imaginations of Him come infinitely short of the truth. Silently consider what God would want you to imagine about him. Consider how your picture of God has changed since you were in kindergarten. Consider what your picture of God might be in 10 years.
Finally, consider what others think of God when they see you. Most people know you’re a Christian. What picture do you give them?
Day 2 – Bodily-Kinesthetic intelligence
Get two volunteers. Have them both stand by their desks. Request that one of the volunteers close his/her eyes and promise not to open them. Let everyone know that you and the other volunteer are going to talk to the blind person and “guide” them around the room verbally. Yours and the other volunteer’s advice may or may not be trustworthy. It will be up to the blind student to decide who to follow.
Go for it. Help the student make a lap of the room, being as trustworthy as you want to be. (If this goes really fast, you can do it 2-3 times with different kids.)
When the student lands safely back at her desk, let her open her eyes. Get her reflections on what happened.
1) Who did you decide to trust?
2) Were either of us completely trustworthy?
3) Even when we were trying to be helpful, how did we fail?
4) What kept us from being trustworthy? (A desire for some laughs?)
Open conversation up to the class.
5) Do our friends ever guide us through decisions?
6) How do we decide who we’re going to trust? Based on previous experience?
7) Do we have any other “voices” guiding us?
8) How do we silence the untrustworthy voices in our lives?
Day 3 – Musical and Existential intelligence
Watch (The Jungle Book scene of Kaa singing “Trust in Me”)
1) Before he even starts singing, what is Kaa (the snake) trying to convince Mowgli to do?
2) How does Kaa manipulate Mowgli by playing on his desires? (I can make sure you never have to leave the Jungle)
Mowgli knows he shouldn’t trust in Kaa, but he doesn’t appear to take the threat seriously enough. How is this similar to Adam and Eve’s temptation?
3) How is this similar to our own temptation?
4) Is it good to trust someone what we know will harm us? Can you describe a time that you did that?
5) The line “Trust in me…just in me” tells us what Kaa is actually saying. Make me a priority and ignore everything else. Who or what is the only thing that deserves this kind of trust? Why?
Day 4 – Linguistic
Today we learn some Hebrew!
Jeremiah 17:7 says (repetitively), “Blessed is the man who trusts in the LORD and whose trust is the LORD.” ESV
While the English says “trust” twice, there are two different Hebrew words here. The first word is batach (like “attack” with a “b”). It means to have confidence or to be bold because you feel safe.
So we are blessed when we can feel safe in the protection of the LORD and move forward with boldness.
The second work is mibtach (pronounced miv-ta-phlegm). It means to have hope that someone will protect or deliver you, so it is sometimes just translated as hope.
So we are blessed when we hope that God will deliver us.
We can see throughout the history of Israel and the Church that God often acts to save his people from physical harm. He was first known as the God who delivered the Hebrews from Egypt. Later He became identified as the God who saved the Jews from their exile. Now he is known as the God who became man to save humanity from their sin and darkness. In the future he will be known as the king who delivered his people from evil and established them forever.
1) What do we hope that Jesus will do in our normal, day-to-day lives?
2) What do we hope that Jesus will do ultimately?
3) What is a good way to determine how much you really trust in God’s protection?
4) Can you describe a moment when someone around you trusted God more than you did?
5) Do you need more boldness in your life? How can a lack of trust in God cause you to be timid?
Day 5 – Logical-mathematical
We’ll take a quick poll.
If you lost a wallet or purse that contained two hundred dollars, and it was found by a neighbor, do you think it would be returned with the money in it, or not?
Raise your hand if you think it would be returned.
When this question was asked to people all over the country, what do you think the percentage of people who said yes was?
Do you think the yesses were higher in Kansas?
When Gallup conducted this poll in 2008, the national average was 70% saying yes. Kansas was at 74%, not much higher.
1) The states with the highest and lowest numbers are actually right next to each other: Utah was 85% and Nevada was 60%. Why do you think this is the case? (Are Mormons and Las Vegas the only variables here, or is there something else?)
2) Why do you think that people, even in the least trustworthy states, still trust their neighbors more than half the time?
3) Is it sad that Kansas isn’t higher? Why do you think 1/4 of us don’t trust our neighbors?
4) How would your neighbors answer this question about you? Why do you think that’s the case?
Day 6 – Intrapersonal
Having discussed Trustworthiness for several weeks, we’re going to take this last day to think through what we need to do in our own lives. Please get out a blank piece of paper that you will keep for a while and write out your responses as we go along. (A sentence for each response should be appropriate.)
1) Can you think of any times in the last week that you weren’t perfectly honest? What should have been done differently?
2) What promises has God fulfilled in your life this school year?
3) How has God shown that he is committed and loyal to you?
4) Think of the areas in which you show loyalty (team, school, church, family). Which of these areas has been lacking recently? Why?
5) Who have you trusted that has let you down? Why do you think that happened?
6) Who has trusted you that you have let down? Why do you think that happened?
7) Finally, write something that you know about God that you are absolutely sure of.
(As time allows, invite willing students to share anything they wrote. You may encourage them to reflect on these questions in the future.)