The power of faithfulness

"Now it is required that those who have been given a trust must prove faithful."
I Corinthians 4:2

According to New Testament scholar, Kenneth Bailey, in the Biblical languages of Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek, there is no word for honesty.  Honesty is fidelity to an impersonal truth.  It is sharing something that is objectively true.  The ancient Biblical cultures did not understand truth apart from the divine.  In their understanding, truth was personified, and to live truthfully was to live in relationship with the divine.

The concept for honesty is a Roman terms, which was indicative of western thought, that although virtuous, was not well understood in the Judaic worldview.

This difference is relevant because the Bible continually rewards faithfulness above what we would objectively describe as "successs".  In a parable of Jesus,  (Luke 19:12-27), Jesus describes a rich man who gives several men the same amount of money and then checks on them after a given time.  What is interesting is that Jesus rewards them on their faithfulness, not their degree of success.  The person is raises more money does not receive more than the person who raises less.  The reward comes with a statement: "Well done.... You have been faithful in a small matter."  The key was not the degree of success but the faithfulness to the giver of the money.

Jesus would ask in a different situation, whether he would find persistent faith, or dare I say, faithfulness in us when he returns (Lk 18:8, the message translation of this is fantastic).  Jesus is looking for faithfulness to him.  This faithfulness implies a confidence and trust to him personally, not simply an understanding and assent to what he represents.

Interestingly, faithfulness is an attribute of God (Exodus 34:6) and Jesus (Hebrews 3:2).  It is a dedication, loyalty, and commitment to another that is tangibly reflected by what you do.  Jesus would ask his followers "Why do you call me Lord, Lord, and not do what I say" (Luke 6:46).  He was not looking for his followers to know what he believed, confess his core doctrines, but to be true and loyal to him, and that is demonstrated through obedience.

So many ministries today need to hear this.  God calls us to faithfulness, and that faithfulness may lead to bearing a cross, as it did with Jesus.  Faithfulness is not a formula for efficiency or automatic success.  We would do well to read Jeremiah who was told from the start that people will not listen to the message that he was given (Jeremiah 7:27).

Faithfulness is based upon relationship and honoring the other.  A spouse who faithfully serves the other is not doing it because it is always fun or because it makes them feel a specific contentment, but because of love for the other.  The essence of faithfulness is love.  God is described as a merging of love with faithfulness (Psalm 85:10).

I want to encourage you in your faithfulness today.  In our "success" driven world and ministries, its refreshing to know that what God is asking us is to simply be faithful.  As the opening scripture exhorts, we must be faithful to what has been trusted to us, what ever our calling is.

I pray today for grace that you will be faithful to God, one another, and your calling.

May God bless you,

Pastor M Traylor