In today’s discussion about faithfulness, I want to start off today’s podcast with a couple stories from my life, about a few times where I saw the lack of faithfulness, and then get into what faithfulness ultimately looks like.
First Story: A Fickle Friend…
In college I had a friend. They were quite the social creature, and easily made friends anytime they were among strangers. My friend was smart, quick-witted, and always had a big smile and infectious laugh They could easily become the life of any party. We hung out a lot.
But my friend had a problem. Anytime you made plans with them, you weren’t 100% sure those plans would always materialize. Last minute phone calls and text messages cancelling mutually agreed upon plans was somewhat quasi normal. Simply put, if they found something else they’d rather do, or someone else they’d rather hang out with, they’d go do that instead.
Second Story: Always Late For Worship…
I once went to a small church. It had less than 100 people. As you can imagine, we didn’t have a lot of options when it came to talented musicians and singers. So we made do with what we had. And for the most part, what we had was pretty good.
But there was this one singer we had a problem with. The problem wasn’t their singing. Their voice was fine, and they were a sweet hearted individual who loved the Lord. The problem was with their punctuality. They had a problem with showing up on time for church. It wasn’t uncommon to see this individual not only miss rehearsal in the mornings, but sometimes they didn’t show up to sing until 5 minutes into service.
Third Story: The Cheater
I had a friend I went to Bible college with who was a minister. Less than a couple years into their marriage and less than a couple years into their ministry, my friend cheated on their spouse with another employee at the church.
Needless to say, that caused a great deal of pain, not only with their spouse, but the community they were a part of. Including myself. I can still remember when my friend confessed their sins to me, and how it was like receiving a literal punch to the gut. And while my friend tried for several years to salvage their marriage, and briefly went back into ministry, eventually everything eventually collapsed.
What Is Faithfulness?
While many definitions might be offered for faithfulness, I think at its core faithfulness is about a orientation of the heart that provokes loyalty and devotion to a person, thing, or cause.
And because of this devotion, a single-minded attitude is created whereby you ultimately become a servant to the thing you are being faithful towards. At it’s heart, faithfulness is about having the attitude of a servant.
Because you are a servant, you don’t simply treat your friends in a fickle manner and blow them off when something better comes along. When you are a servant, you do things like show up on time, every time, as promised. And because you are a servant, the idea of stepping out on your spouse is something that shouldn’t even ever enter your mind.
God Is A Model Of Faithfulness
When we practice faithfulness, we are ultimately like God, for whom we sing the great Christian hymn, Great is Thy Faithfulness:
Great is Thy faithfulness, O God my Father
There is no shadow of turning with Thee
Thou changest not, Thy compassions, they fail not
As Thou hast been Thou forever wilt be
Great is Thy faithfulness, great is Thy faithfulness
Morning by morning new mercies I see
All I have needed Thy hand hath provided
Great is Thy faithfulness, Lord, unto me
God’s faithfulness is something the Bible makes much about.
Our God isn’t like the pagan gods of old, who change who they are and what they are about on a whim. Rather, our God is the God who changes not. He’s Alpha and Omega, and everything in between. Our God is an Everlasting Father who makes promises to His children that He ultimately keeps.
Not a single word of His ever fails us. He is faithful and true. His word to us is Yes and Amen.
God’s faithfulness is as sure as the fact that tomorrow will be a new day in which both the sun and the moon shall rise. A day in which God will show us fresh mercies, and provide for all our needs.
No matter what we are going through and no matter how tough life can be, we can be sure that God will always be there for us. He’ll never leave us or forsake us. Our God is an ever present help in a time of need. He will always show up for us. God’s got our back.
And because God is this way towards us, He ultimately demonstrates how we ought to be towards others. We can be faithful, because God models for us what faithfulness ultimately looks like. And the model of faithfulness that God ultimately left for all of humanity was Jesus Christ on the cross.
Jesus Christ came to this world, not to do His own thing, but to ultimately do the will of His Father that sent Him. He came not to lead, but to serve. To willfully surrender His life as a sacrifice for others, and in the process, experiencing the types of sufferings that only a servant would know.
With such a remarkable example for us to follow, where God Himself models faithfulness for us to follow, then what manner of people ought we to be?
There should be no room in our life for being fickle fair weathered friends. Constantly bailing on people you consider your friends is not something we should be known for.
If we are employed or volunteer to participate in something, we should show up consistently, on time, every time. Of course, there are things that may happen outside of our ability to control. But when they do, we should clearly communicate that issue to interested parties. But such things should be rare. Showing up to work or church on time shouldn’t be a regular life challenge.
And I think it almost goes without saying, but as the saying goes, “dance with the girl that brought you.” It’s estimated that infidelity rates among married couples is around 30-40%. Which seems astonishingly high. But if God is our model for faithfulness, coming to your marriage with the heart of a servant that is devoted to your spouse ought to prevent you from seeking other the romantic affections of another.