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If You Want More, You Must be Faithful in Little

Many are on a career path, but few seem to be on a character path. All too frequently who we are is discarded upon the altar of ambition.

by Dennis Rainey

Are you trusted by your friends? Are you reliable? Can others count on you? Do you want to know how to be an original in a culture of copycats? Do you want to be a part of a vanishing breed in today's generation?

If so, then become a person who is faithful. You know, a person who follows through. One whom others can count on whether things are rough or smooth. His word is good on the little stuff as well as the mammoth, gargantuan tasks. He's the kind of person who promises to call—and does so—on time. He says he'll do it and he does it—exactly like you asked it to be done.

Are you known as a faithful person? If you are, then here are a few of the words that can be used to describe you: trustworthy, dependable, reliable, true-blue, and responsible. All of the names are saturated with one reoccurring theme: Character. Character quietly, yet convincingly, says, "You can count on me—at any cost!"

Being faithful with little

I sense in our society a growing feeling of entitlement, such as, "I deserve a promotion (without the process)" ... "I deserve the position, prestige, and responsibility without having to pay the price and be faithful today."

Many are on a career path, but few seem to be on a character path. All too frequently who we are is discarded upon the altar of ambition.

Today our oatmeal is ready to eat in 60 seconds, our prescription lenses are ready to be picked up in 60 minutes, and our house can be built in 60 days. We are a culture that is used to getting what we want instantly. We aren't used to working patiently, or waiting on anything—even a hamburger.

Jesus taught, "He who is faithful in a very little thing is faithful also in much; and he who is unrighteous in a little thing is unrighteous also in much. If therefore you have not been faithful in the use of unrighteous riches, who will entrust the true riches to you?" (Luke 16:11).

What we want today is the much more without the very little. We want the tip without the toil, the gain without the grind, the sweets without the sweat, the prize without the pain, and the perks without the perseverance. Today, duty, diligence, hard work, and attention to details are a rare commodity in any endeavor—whether it be at home, at work, or at church.

Could it be that we are chasing after the wrong thing? Do we want to have it our way regardless of what it costs us? Could it be that faithfulness at home is shredded by the pursuit of just one more dollar at work?

We've become a sloppy generation with all kinds of cover-ups for the unfaithful. Like, "It just fell through the cracks!" (Some today seem to have a pretty broad measurement of the cracks!) Or, "I just forgot—are you sure the deadline was yesterday?" My favorite is "I didn't have time." Better stated, "Other priorities were chosen before your thing got done."

I struggle with being faithful in little too. Confession may be good for the soul, but it's bad for the reputation!

Some things to consider

You might be asking, "I agree with you, but how do I know if I am viewed as a faithful person by others?" Perhaps the following questions would be good for you to consider:

  • Do others constantly have to remind you to get things done? Do you habitually forget to follow through?
  • What does your word mean to you? Is it a premium seal that secures the deal? Or is it a flimsy wrapper that can be taken off and thrown away with ease?
  • Do you return your phone calls?
  • Do your children believe you when you promise to do something with them?
  • If you promise you'll be home, do you call if you're going to be late? Deadlines are missed occasionally—things do derail us unexpectedly—a call or a note that the deadline is going to be missed places value on the other person's expectation and lets them know you are responsible and can be trusted.

Maybe you are faithful—a cut above the herd, but I'll bet you work near others who could use a double dose of faithfulness. What if suddenly we had a dramatic rash of people falling all over one another trying to be faithful in the little things in their work? Do you think excellence would be a mere myth?

What would happen in our homes if there was an epidemic of husbands and wives infected with being faithful in the little things in their relationship with each other, their children, and their parents? What if we really did do what we promised one another? What would happen to the next generation if we trained our children to be faithful in little as well as to be intelligent and athletic? Are we raising a generation of children that will embrace selfish pursuits or faithfulness? If they don't learn to be faithful from you then what kind of leaders, workers, husbands and wives, and fathers and mothers will they make? And if you don't teach them, who will?

And what do you think would be the impact of Christians on society if they replaced faithfulness and obedience toward God in the place of compromise and unfaithfulness? Perhaps the salt would become truly "salty" again.

But our values are all fouled up and sticky with the things the world values. Do we admire the man who is successful or faithful? Do we give awards for production or for trustworthiness? Are moms honored for slugging it out in the trenches and raising a family or do we sling a little dirt on the occupation by always talking about the women who are making it "big time" in the business world?

Since Jesus said that "the much more" depended upon our faithfulness, then why not join a growing number of Christians who are giving faithfulness the standing ovation it deserves. How about cheering your family members on for:

  • a faithful act that was performed when no one was apparently watching. 
  • your husband who was honest in preparing your income tax returns.
  • a mother who is faithfully taking the time to rear the next generation (so much of her work is unseen and unappreciated by others). 
  • a child who tells the truth instead of lying even though the consequences are painful.

How do you view the details? As picky things to be ignored or that get in your way? Or as a stepping stone to receiving the true riches of the kingdom?

Value. Character. Faithfulness.

As Chuck Swindoll says, "It's never too late to start doing what is right."

Want much more? Then do the little—faithfully.

 

Copyright © 2006 by FamilyLife. All rights reserved.

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