God Is Faithful
Dictionary.com defines Faithfulness as: “true, devoted, staunch, constant, loyal, speaks to stability, dependability, and devotion. Faithful implies long-continued and steadfast fidelity to whatever one is bound to by a pledge, duty, or obligation: a faithful friend.”
In a world that values success, the church often picks up what the culture believes. Some pastors have long seasons of remarkable ministry. Others put in their effort and blaze or burn out after a couple of years. What is the measuring rod of success? Some are given congregations ready-made – just add water. I think of the fathers who pass on their legacy to their sons and thousands of congregants enjoy the family line of a good preacher. While others envy them something is to be said about continuity. Others struggle to make ends meet and once in a while you see a persevering pastor reach a whole nation though his/her congregation is small. Sometimes women against all odds get in the mix and dig in their heels and thrive and the “norm” changes. Because God works with individuals it is hard to pinpoint or replicate success in the church.
Consider for a minute a young man named Thomas. He preached in Kentucky – but only for a year. Just one single, solitary year. One, only one. He was kind of a failure. He had no following, but he could write poetry. Townsfolk probably thought he needed to get back in the seminary for some “good learning”, after all he was kind of shy in public and his sermons were kind of half baked. When Thomas was away from his congregation he would pour out his heart in poems. His congregation may have thought he was kind of a soft fellow as he had a way with words but no dynamic showmanship behind the pulpit. When he finally quit the ministry he decided to become an insurance salesman. He wasn’t especially good at that either. But one thing Thomas did, he kept expressing his heart through his poetry. The saying,
“The tallest oak in the forest was once just a little nut that held its ground,”
would apply to him. He became the editor of the Pentecostal Herald for a brief time and then spent the rest of his years in Ocean Grove New Jersey in a retirement center. Illness interrupted his ministry. His mama named him Thomas Obadiah so there must have been some hope there for a career in ministry. His prophetic middle name only lasted in pulpit ministry for one year. Just one year, 365 days then exit stage left. This precious man, un-celebrated in his life, penned the words to the hymn Great is Thy Faithfulness which was one day made well known by George Beverly Shea, another preacher who was not designed for the pulpit but made it in the music world. Both of these men changed careers, stepped past others opinions and expressed their faithfulness to God in their area of gifting. They were faithful to God, not to a set prescription of “ministry”.
We see God’s faithfulness every day but it often goes unnoticed. I heard this joke last week and it stuck in my heart: God is talking to one of his angels and says, “Do you know what I have just done? I have just created a 24-hour period of alternating light and darkness on Earth. Isn’t that good?” The angel says, “Yes, but what will you do now?”
God says, “I think I’ll call it a day.”
I love that! Every day God is pouring out His love but if we consider the works of His hands and how constant they are we can understand His faithfulness. Have you ever gone a day when there was no oxygen in your house? Ever had a day when the trees in your yard yawned, laid down and said I think I’ll rest today? Have you ever seen the moon decide to go somewhere else for a vacation? God’s faithfulness is all around us. Did you know that men have a monthly cycle? They have an internal clock like women do with highs and lows. Just because it’s not joked about on late night shows doesn’t mean it’s not a real thing. Seasons have cycles and the animal world have systems and calendar times that we often overlook in our busy society but that does not mean that they don’t exist because no one is looking. I’m continually fascinated by a beetle that only comes to the surface every 14 years. Talk about making every moment count! God continues His faithfulness; perhaps hoping someone will pull over on the side of the road once in a while and notice.
Know therefore (understand, ponder and realize) that the Lord your God is God; He is the faithful God, keeping His covenant of love to a thousand generations of those who love Him and keep HIS commandments.
Faithful here means one who establishes. It was used to describe a nurse carrying a patient. Blue letter Bible describes it as “trusty”. God is trustworthy and carries us through all of our seasons and circumstances. He is described as a “covenant keeper” with those who love Him and keep His commandments. That is powerful.
We have been investing time and money in education, kid’s and a special project. There always seems to be more month than money. My sweet hubby was supposed to go to a meeting this weekend but our washer and dryer both broke down. God provided an inexpensive washer by a guy who refurbishes them and then insight on how to fix the dryer. While I was at work, both broke and both were fixed. I didn’t even have time to worry about it so I felt kind of shortchanged. Lol. Before I could even pray, it was taken care of and done. God was faithful to us but my husband was also faithful to take care of a situation rather than doing something he really wanted to do. Sometimes our faithfulness displays God’s faithfulness to others. Imagine a work week with no laundry and what that would do to your schedule. God is never too busy to take care of our needs or provide for us – even when we are unaware that He is doing it. We anticipate that our household appliances will keep working but often take them for granted. God is faithful and works for our good daily but how many take Him for granted and resist praising Him or thanking Him, one day a week? Ouch.
How has God been faithful in your life? Maybe tell someone today, not only to encourage their faith but to boast about the God you serve and increase your faith. What if reminders of God’s faithfulness encouraged someone elses faith in their time of despair? what if someone is only staring at their one year instead of God’s faithfulness and need a vision adjustment? Help steady and establish them in God’s faithfulness and grace.
Lord, help us to know you as the Covenant keeping God who is faithful. Help us BE covenant keeping people who act faithfully. We choose the faithful road over the easy road; we choose to be like YOU rather than the norms around us. Please give us Your power to stand, to work and rest for Your glory. Amen.