As a result of a devotional I read this morning, I’ve been thinking about faithfulness, particularly why it’s so important. Why is faithfulness a good thing? Why are faithfulness in marriage; faithfulness in making loan payments; faithfulness in giving my employer an honest day’s work; faithfulness in keeping my word; faithfulness in contributing time, energy and finances to the church; faithfulness in loving God and people; faithfulness in the little things as well as the big things, etc. so commendable? For a few minutes, let’s think about that.
Could it be that faithfulness is commendable because it reflects the nature of our God? Scripture often commends God for His faithfulness. Moses consistently reminded the people of Israel that their Egypt-redeeming God was a faithful, covenant-keeping God. The psalmist repeatedly praises God for His faithfulness. Jesus and the apostle Paul also make reference to our faithful God. So, faithfulness is a good thing in that it reflects well on the character of God. After all, it is a “fruit” of God’s spirit, an aspect of God’s character channeled through us.
My I suggest, also, that faithfulness is commendable for it brings temporary blessings while we are here on earth. Moses begins Deuteronomy 28 with the promise that “if you (Israel) faithfully obey the voice of the Lord your God, being careful to do all his commandments that I command you today, the Lord God will set you high above all the nations of the earth. And all these blessings shall come upon you and overtake you, if you obey the voice of the Lord your God.” That promise is then followed by a listing of blessing upon blessing that God will bestow upon the faithful Israelites. The wise author of Proverbs confirms that “a faithful man will abound with blessings.”
And then, what really encourages me to “hang in there at all cost” is that faithfulness is commendable in that it will bring eternal blessing as well. In Matthew 25 Jesus commends two servants who wisely managed the owner’s property (talents) with “Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master.” Speaking of “faithful over little”, the devotional I read this morning had this quote from Francois Fenelon: “Only by fidelity in little things can a true and constant love of God be distinguished from a passing fervor of spirit.” (I had to read that several times and am still pondering it.) To the persecuted church in Smyrna, Jesus promised: “Be faithful unto death, and I will give you the crown of life.” Wow – eternally rewarded for temporary faithfulness. I think it’s worth it.
So, faithfulness is a good thing, isn’t it? In my 70 years of life and 44 years of pastoral ministry, one thing I know for sure is stated best my Jeremiah “My soul continually remembers it and is bowed down within me. But this I call to mind, and therefore I have hope. The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.” (Lamentations 3:20-23)
A question I think about a lot is posed in the Steve Green song: “When Jesus Comes, Will He Find Us Faithful?” In light of God’s faithfulness to us, let’s think about it.
Transitional Pastor Roger Poppen