If you have been preaching in a certain church (or other situation) for a lengthy period of time then you are very likely to have built up significant capital with the people. That capital does not accrue automatically of course. It accrues through accurately, faithfully and appropriately bringing the Word to the people. It also builds up through continual prayerful care for the people. It is good that people have learned to trust you over that period and you have built up a significant capital of trust.
However, the accrual of capital does have its dangers. These largely stem from being complacent. When you start off in a ministry there are very few liberties you can take. This is because if you do err in any way, you are likely to make people wary of you. But after a period, when trust has been built, there can be a tendency to complacency.
One way I have been thinking of how this can be manifest is with regards to becoming casual in preaching. If you have preached faithfully over many years the people are likely to trust what you say. This can mean that you can start to cut corners in your preparation and in particular in your exegesis of the text. “No-one will notice” is your conclusion and no harm will be done.
However, to allow such an attitude to encroach upon your soul is most dangerous. It means that you lose that care in dealing with God’s Word. And if that continues a rot can set in which can lead to all kinds of havoc. Accordingly, we must make sure we can take our stand with Paul who, on the verge of glory said I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. ( 2 Tim. 4:7). We should always be hearing Paul’s injunction to Timothy to Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth (2 Tim. 2:15).