In September of 1957, a young comedian named Johnny Carson was awarded the host emcee position for a new daytime quiz show on the new medium called television (it was only a few years old at that time!). This quiz show, originally titled Do You Trust Your Wife? And later changed to Who Do You Trust?, challenged individuals who were married to each other to decide whether to trust their own judgment and knowledge for answers to the quiz questions or to trust their mates’ knowledge of the subject. On the show, each couple would answer three questions, worth a whopping $25, $50, and $75, and the couple who won the most money would go to the bonus round, where they could win $500 and the right to return the next day to face that day’s winning couple.
Having attended many seminars and leadership training events, one of the common features of each of these events is something that is called a team-building exercise. It may consist of certain projects – assembling a puzzle, or some other exercise.
The exercise called “Trust” stands out in my mind as one of the most emphatic in demonstrating that quality. The one person who is “voluntold” to be the guinea pig is “invited to stand on a chair, with his/her back to the group, arms folded and eyes closed. Then that individual simply leans back. The rest of the group is standing there waiting as the person leans back and eventually falls into the arms of the group. The trust comes in believing that the group will indeed catch the individual as they fall. I must admit that I have only played the game myself one time – that’s all it took and I found it extremely difficult to “trust” these people to catch me. Several of them I had only recently met for the first time, yet I was trusting them with my very life. Since that time I have watched this exercise conducted many times, and never have I seen the group fail to catch the falling person, but even that does not make it any less difficult to watch!
The question, “Who do you trust?” is an important one for us even today. Actually, to be grammatically correct, the question should be “Whom do you trust?” The challenge though is still the same. The issue though is not whether we trust our mates, but whether we trust God or ourselves.
Henry Blackaby points to one verse of Scripture to show how God wants us to trust Him with our very lives: Thus says the Lord: “Cursed is the man who trusts in man and makes flesh his strength, whose heart departs from the Lord.” – Jeremiah 17:5
The Israelites of Jeremiah’s day believed they could trust in their army, the diplomacy of their king, and their foreign alliances to protect them from the powerful Babylonian empire. They gave lip service to their trust in God, but their actions showed where their faith really was: in their military and financial might. God spoke through Jeremiah to warn them that He would not bless those who trusted in anyone or anything instead of Him.
Placing your ultimate trust in anything other than God is idolatry. How can you know if your faith is not truly in God? Ask yourself these questions: Where do I turn when I experience a crisis? When I am hurting or afraid, to whom do I go? When I have a financial problem, whom do I want to tell first? Where do I seek comfort when I am under stress or discouraged?
God often uses other people as His method of providing for you. But be careful lest you inadvertently misdirect your faith toward His provision instead of toward the Provider. God may meet your needs through your friends, but ultimately your trust must be in God. The Israelites were so stubbornly committed to trusting in human strength instead of God that, even as the Babylonian army approached Jerusalem, they continued desperately to seek for a person, or a nation, or an army that could rescue them. They realized too late that they had neglected to trust in the only One who could deliver them.
So we come back to the original question: Whom do YOU trust? May I challenge you today to live expectantly by trusting in the Lord today? Don’t make the same mistake as the Israelites. Go straight to the Lord when you have a need. He is the only One who can provide for you.
Chuck Tabor is a regular columnist for this newspaper and a former pastor in the area. He may be reached at [email protected].