I recently ran across a question that was a bit thought provoking as well as challenging, “Do you apply the same standards of faithfulness to your Christian activities that you expect from other areas of your life?” I have to admit I haven’t really thought about my service to Christ in that way, but consider the following:
> If your car starts once every three or four tries, is it reliable?
> If your mailman skips delivery every Monday and Thursday, is he trustworthy?
> If you don’t go to work once or twice a month, are you a loyal employee?
> If your refrigerator stops working for a day or two now and then, do you say, “Oh well, it works most of the time?”
> If your water heater provides an icy cold shower on occasion, is it dependable?
> If you miss a couple of loan payments every year, does the bank send you a notice saying, “Ten out of twelve payments isn’t bad – keep up the good work?”
> If you fail to be a part of worship one or two Sundays a month, would you expect to be called a faithful Christian?
We expect faithfulness and reliability from things and other people. Doesn’t God expect the same from us? Could it be that the underlying problem with many in this area is that when it comes to religious activities, they see themselves as volunteers rather than duty bound servants? To a volunteer, almost anything seems acceptable, but to a bondservant who is duty bound, faithfulness is expected.
In Luke 17, the apostles felt incapable of measuring up to the standards that Jesus had set forth and they asked for greater faith to lay hold of the power to live up to those standards. In response, Jesus told them that if they had faith as small as a mustard seed, they could do great things. He then underlined what that faithfulness looked like: “Suppose one of you had a servant plowing or looking after the sheep. Would he say to the servant when he comes in from the field, ‘Come along now and sit down to eat’? Would he not rather say, ‘Prepare my supper, get yourself ready and wait on me while I eat and drink; after that you may eat and drink’? Would he thank the servant because he did what he was told to do? So you also, when you have done everything you were told to do, should say, ‘We are unworthy servants; we have only done our duty’” (7-10).
Because of what Christ has done for us, when we do what we are supposed to, we are at best, “unworthy servants.” Such is the life of “ordinary Christianity.” But that life is not without reward! Jesus also declared in the parable of the talents that a time will come when the following will be heard: “Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!” (Matt.25:21)
As we move into a new year, may our faithfulness to Christ and His Kingdom be an encouragement to others and a witness to the work He has called us to.
With Great Expectation,