Summary: A message to challenge us to greater faithfulness in our service to the Lord.
God’s Requirement Of Faithfulness
Luke 9:57-62 "And it came to pass, that, as they went in the way, a certain [man] said unto him, Lord, I will follow thee whithersoever thou goest. And Jesus said unto him, Foxes have holes, and birds of the air [have] nests; but the Son of man hath not where to lay [his] head. And he said unto another, Follow me. But he said, Lord, suffer me first to go and bury my father. Jesus said unto him, Let the dead bury their dead: but go thou and preach the kingdom of God. And another also said, Lord, I will follow thee; but let me first go bid them farewell, which are at home at my house. And Jesus said unto him, No man, having put his hand to the plough, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God."
I Cor 4:1-2 "Let a man so account of us, as of the ministers of Christ, and stewards of the mysteries of God. Moreover it is required in stewards, that a man be found faithful."
As we look back upon the year that has just passed into the annals of history, we can surely say that God gave all of us many blessings and much for which to be thankful. We could praise Him forever and never sufficiently express the gratitude our hearts should feel for the continuing love, mercy and grace He has poured out upon our lives. The value of our salvation and the abundant spiritual blessings He daily showers upon us defy definition and description. The blessings of family, friends and freedom are forever beyond our capacity to fully comprehend, much less truly be thankful for.
A backward glanced will also reveal that the past year has been a year of sorrow and heartbreak for many. Natural disasters, the war on terrorism and the continuing threat of mass destruction and worldwide catastrophe makes the year one of the most memorable and challenging in history. As we pause and survey the situation and set our face toward another New Year, it would be good to heed the admonition of the weeping prophet, " Let us search and try our ways, and turn again to the LORD." (Lam. 3:40)
We will not have search too far or examine matters too closely to come to the conclusion that it would be very easy to wonder if it really has been worth it all. Just how much light has our little candles cast into the dark corners of sin in our community? Just how much preserving effect has our salt had upon the wicked world in which we walk and work? Most of us who try to witness to our Christ rejecting world find it increasingly difficult to effectively do so. It would be all too easy to throw up our hands in discouragement and back away in despair; retiring from the fray.
In light of all this, we could perhaps be forgiven for being weary in well doing. It would be understandable if we were to ask, "What can we do to make a difference in our world? Just what does God want from us in the year ahead? In a world such as ours, just what does God require of me in the New Year?"
Is it not amazing the Word of God has all the answers to all our questions, even before we can conceive them or ask them? What does God require of us in the year ahead? Just what he required of us in the year that has just passed. In a word, "Faithfulness."
There is nothing in the world like good, old-fashioned dependability. One of the ultimate character compliments has to be, "You can depend upon him!" Even when the going gets tough he will be there for you. As someone has said, "When the going gets tough, the tough get going!"
That’s clearly what Jesus is getting at in this passage. It is obviously what Paul is saying as well. Staying power is the greatest power of all. Remember what Dr. Luke said about those in that first church in Jerusalem? He said, "They continued steadfastly in the apostles doctrine.." I really do like that. After the grand beginning at Pentecost when three thousands precious souls were added to the church. After the emotion and blessing of that great moment. After all the euphoria associated with such a mountain top experience. Even when they began to be jailed and martyred. They stuck in there. They didn’t look back at all. Come pain, persecution or poverty they persisted and persevered. The kept studying, praying, witnessing and growing.
Faithfulness and staying power will bring us through most of life’s experiences. This is not just true for the missionary, pastor or Christian, but for the business man, student or homemaker as well. It is the one who keeps on keeping on who wins out in the end. The story of the tortoise and the hare is so timeless and ageless because it so simply and succinctly illustrates this one great lesson.