Faithfulness- That is being full of faith.
If we were to describe someone who is faithful many images and characteristics would arise. They show up consistently to appointments or scheduled times to serve in the church. They work hard and don’t waste time, but most of all, over time they have proven that what they do is not for themselves but to bring glory to God. As a leader and shepherd faithfulness is the greatest requirement and thus our gauge of our own faithfulness should not come from man but from the Lord.
How do you arrive at that conclusion?
The reality is only two people know if you are truly being faithful…yourself and God. If character is what happens when nobody is looking than faithfulness is outward manifestation of an internal conviction. Nobody does anything great without first being faithful.
Yet faithfulness is one of the hardest parts of the Christian life to maintain, ney the hardest part of life to maintain.
We live in a culture that tells us faithfulness is not a quality to live by. Rather it is good and important for us to move on when we don’t enjoy something or when our initial plucky, fluttery, warm fuzzy emotions wear off. Look at marriage. Is faithfulness really a value in our culture? Clearly with the rapidity and brevity by which marriages arrive in divorce we are lead to believe that faithfulness is not something you continue in over time but rather move on from when emotional sparks and glammor fade.
Yet for the Christian Christ call us to be faithful. In Revelation 2:10 Christ urges the church at Smyrna to “be faithful unto death…” a command few of us would ever embrace.
I mean death…yikes!
If my faithfulness leads me to death…was it really worth it to be faithful if all I did was die in the end.
The reality of it all is God does something great when His people are faithful. See Hebrews 11-12:1&2. What characterizes these great men and woman of faith is not their cunning, eleoquence, or stature rather it is simply the fact that they are faithful with what God put in front of them. For some it was leading a nation to freedom (moses) for others it was simply doing what was right in the sight of the Lord (Able) regardless each is characterized by their faith.
Everything begins and ends with this question…are you going to be faithful?
Or are you, to put it bluntly, a quitter. Running away when personal fame and fortune are not guaranteed or when adversity arises and requires a tough decision. Although I have only been in pastoral ministry for a year and half or so I have realized that faithfulness is the greatest requirement of a shepherd of God’s people. Because apart from being faithful we are left to function only off of public affirmation or personal commendation neither of which get us through the tough times, tough decisions or internal realizations of shortcomings that plague many of us whom God has put as leaders.
But faithfulness is so much more than going through the motions routinely.
It is our demeanor when faced with a tough decision. It is our stability when dreams begin to crumble before our vary eyes. It is our decision to remain consistent when the enemy is putting every stumbling bock before you he can. Here are some ways that faithfulness is realized as leaders…Please not these are lessons from my own life. Also please not these are not calls to endure just simple day-to-day ways we allow ourselves to be faithful.
1.) Don’t make promises you can’t keep.
– Refrain from making promises to individuals or even yourself that you know you cannot do. Faithful sometimes requires us to say no to good things so that we may do great things.
2.) Follow through on your commitments.
– I know simple right, but believe it or not this probably the most externally noticeable way that we see someone even ourselves as being faithful. For me this means making sure I can actually give a good amout of time to my appointments and constantly consult my schedule so I know that in that block of time that person or practical task has my attention.
3.) Know when it is pride and know when weakness.
– Let me clarify this one. Sometimes we feel as though faithfulness requires us to carry all the burdens on our shoulders. The reality is a lot of times we just need help but our pride or our insecurities hinder us from raising leaders and or stepping back so that someone else who is more gifted can use their gifts. But also know when it is just a weakness that we need to grown in. I am not in place in my life that requires me to have a secretary for my appointments. When that day does come I will cry with many joyous reverent tears. However until that time I know that God is calling me to grow in my ability to schedule my life in such that I am effective with my time. Believe me I am the master of the double book. Sometimes I wonder why I even have an iphone with ical if I am not going to consult it.
The reality is faithfulness is just being responsible with what God has put in front of us. If we really believe God has called us to it. For some this means being faithful to your spouse. And for others this means being faithful with time and energy God has given you. Whatever it we as believers are to be full of faith and show that in the way we handle the day to day.
Be Christ-like, be humble, be faithful
Love you all have a great day!