Fr. Stavros N. Akrotirianakis is the Proistamenos of St. John Greek Orthodox Church in Tampa, FL. Fr. contributes the Prayer Team Ministry, a daily reflection, which began in February 2015, has produced two books, “Let All Creation Rejoice: Reflections on Advent, the Nativity and Epiphany” and “The Road Back to Christ: Reflections on Lent, Holy Week and the Resurrection.”
THE GREAT COMMANDMENTS: WHERE DO YOU STAND?
You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength and with all your mind; and your neighbor as yourself. Luke 10:27
Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not rely on your own insight. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make straight your paths. Proverbs 3: 5-6
Good morning Prayer Team!
Trust, simply put, is believing without seeing or fully knowing. When I go to the doctor, as an example, and I have a blood test, and the doctor tells me the results of the test, I put my trust in the doctor. I cannot “see” my cholesterol as an example. I take the doctor’s word. I have to trust my choir director during the Divine Liturgy that she will lead the responses of the service properly. I can’t see her during the service, I do not go and sing with the choir. I have to trust that when I offer a petition, they will offer the proper response.
I do not have to trust in the chair I’m sitting in at the moment, because I can see it and I know that it will hold my weight. I don’t have to trust that my television set will turn on when I want to watch. It generally turns on. And on the day that it doesn’t turn on, it’s not because of a breach of trust. It is because of it broken and needs fixing or replacing. Trust is not part of this equation. While I may have to trust a repairman or a mechanic, I don’t need to trust in a TV or a car.
We can’t get far in any relationship without trust. We may not have to trust objects, but there is definitely trust involved when there are people involved. Trust is usually the determinant on whether a relationship succeeds or fails. Where there is no trust, there can be no love, and no progress, someone once told me. Of course, trust doesn’t exist from the very beginning of a relationship. It takes time to build trust. And unfortunately, it takes little time to shatter it. It may take doing fifty things right to gain trust, but doing one thing wrong can break trust irrevocably.
Ultimately, we have to trust at least in some other people—without trust, I wouldn’t have a spouse, a doctor, or any friends. Without trust I couldn’t go to a restaurant and trust the cook to prepare the food correctly. Without trust I wouldn’t leave my house—I have to trust that someone isn’t going to steal my stuff while I’m gone. Laws are built on trust.
Marriage is such a noble institution because it is built on trust. When people decide to live together without being married, there doesn’t need to be trust. One party can just leave. Marriage is one of the ultimate acts of trust, because you don’t know how it will end up but you jump in anyway. As I once read, when you get married, you disable the ejection seats of the relationship and enter into a relationship where both parties commit to each other for better or worse, in good times and in bad ones.
Trust is at the core of our relationship with God. As I have written previously, God has a plan for each life. He has given each of us a unique set of gifts and talents. We have to trust that God knows what He is doing, to trust why He gave certain people the talents that He gave them and why He gave us the talents we have. We don’t always know where God is leading us but we are supposed to trust Him and let Him have the lead in our lives.
At summer camp, one of the activities we do is called a “trust walk.” In this activity people are paired up and one person in each pair is blindfolded. The sighted person leads the blindfolded person on a walk around an obstacle course. The person who can’t see has to trust in the person who can, that they will be safe as they walk around. If there is trust, then the person who cannot see can relax, and even though they don’t know where they are going, they feel confident that they will get to that place safely. Similarly, the person who can see must take great care of the person who cannot see. They must make sure that they are worthy of the trust placed in them.
In relationships, I try to put myself in the place of the sighted partner, to always prove worthy of the trust placed in me. In my relationship with God, I try to put myself in the place of the partner who cannot see, to trust that God has a plan and place my trust in Him to get me around the obstacles and challenges I face. Just because I place my trust in the Lord doesn’t mean there aren’t going to be challenges and obstacles. It means that with His help I can have confidence as I face them.
Trust (from a spiritual perspective)—On a scale of 1 to 10, how do you rank yourself on the following questions: Do I believe that God has a plan for my life? Am I following that call? Do I trust in God? Can He trust in me?
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
Think about where you are at in your life—how much is based on your plan and how much do you think is based on God’s plan for you? Ask God to give you discernment to know what His will is for you.
Trust (from a relationship perspective)—Am I a trusting person? Do I trust others? Am I worthy of the trust of others? Do I keep confidences when people confide in me?
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
Be careful in relationships. Be careful what you say. Be careful what you repeat. Keep building trust at the forefront of your relationships.
Blessed be the Lord! For He has beard the voice of my supplications. The Lord is my strength and my shield; in Him my heart trusts; so I am helped and my heart exults, and with my son I give thanks to Him. Psalm 28: 6-7
Build trust by making sure others feel safe around you. Leave room for God to work in your life.
Photo Credit: The London Institute for Contemporary Christianity
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