Have you ever heard the expression, "nobody likes a quitter"? Like most kids who have grown up active in sports, I heard it a lot. I'm equally sure that it is an expression heard in many other venues rather than athletic endeavors. The word really does carry a very negative connotation and I'm sure most of us would do anything we could to avoid having that label applied to us. As we talked about last week, as the New Year begins many are making decisions to do things differently but as we all know, the temptation to quit and return to the way we lived in the past is strong. Personally, I think staying the course and finishing what you start could best be described by using the biblical term "faithfulness".
Let a man so consider us, as servants of Christ and stewards of the mysteries of God. Moreover it is required in stewards that one be found faithful. 1 Corinthians 4:1-2 NKJV
The Greek word translated faithful is "pistos" which is defined this way; 1) trusty, faithful. a) of persons who show themselves faithful in the transaction of business, the execution of commands, or the discharge of official duties. So the Bible tells us that there are three things a person must do in order to be called faithful, and since we as believers are considered to be servants of God, I want to take just a little bit of time to look at each of them and consider how they might relate to how we are to conduct ourselves in light of how God sees us.
Faithful to Transact Business
Now so it was [that] after three days they found Him in the temple, sitting in the midst of the teachers, both listening to them and asking them questions. And all who heard Him were astonished at His understanding and answers. So when they saw Him, they were amazed; and His mother said to Him, "Son, why have You done this to us? Look, Your father and I have sought You anxiously." And He said to them, "Why did you seek Me? Did you not know that I must be about My Father's business?" Luke 2:46-49 NKJV
So Jesus tells His mother that Gods' business is "listening and asking questions". Have you ever thought of going to church, reading your Bible, and asking questions of what you hear and read as "business"? Yet it seems perfectly clear that this is the first thing required of a faithful servant of God; learning. We must be faithful in devoting time to study, listen, and see what it is that God wants to teach us. In other words...."Learn"
Faithful to Execute Commands
A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another." John 13:34-35 NKJV
Here we are given a command to love just as Jesus has loved us. So in order to be faithful, we need to learn how Jesus loved, and then love others in exactly the same way. This obviously follows our first point by telling us what it is we are supposed to learn, then put it in action by applying it to the way we live. By putting it in action for others to see, we show the world that we are Jesus' disciples. In other words...."Love"
Faithful to Discharge Duties
I charge you therefore before God and the Lord Jesus Christ, who will judge the living and the dead at His appearing and His kingdom: Preach the word! Be ready in season and out of season. Convince, rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering and teaching. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers; and they will turn their ears away from the truth, and be turned aside to fables. But you be watchful in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry. 2 Timothy 4:1-5 NKJV
The word for preach in the Greek is "kēryssō" which means: 1) to be a herald, to officiate as a herald. a) to proclaim after the manner of a herald. The obvious point here is that as a faithful servant of God we are required to "proclaim" the Word of God. In essence God is telling us that we are to share the Word, or gospel of Christ, with everyone. We are also told to "be ready" to share. This goes back to the first point of learning. We must be prepared to share at any time, with anyone, as God sees fit to arrange. So what is the basic responsibility of a servant?...."Serve"
I know I am not alone in hoping I hear the words "well done, good and faithful servant" when I stand before the throne. I know I have said before that the following verse is the one God uses to motivate me, but I want to share it with you once again.
"Who then is a faithful and wise servant, whom his master made ruler over his household, to give them food in due season? Blessed [is] that servant whom his master, when he comes, will find so doing. Matthew 24:45-46 NKJV
God wants, and expects, to find us doing His work when He returns. A faithful servant knows to learn, love, and serve until the day Jesus returns for us. As hard as it may be to remain faithful as God tarries, and as the temptation to quit the fight becomes stronger, I hope you will stay the course and be faithful just as He desires us to be.