Does God Consider You Faithful?

          James Merritt tells about a member of the first church he pastored in the backwoods of Kentucky. The man’s name was Raleigh Matthews. He lived on the same farm and attended the same church his entire life.

          He was a soft-spoken, low-key humble man who, on the surface, wouldn’t seem to have a lot of influence. But this young pastor soon realized that he carried more influence than all the other men in the church put together.

          Maybe it was because of all the church positions he held, but that wasn’t it. Merritt finally figured out that this man carried tremendous influence because he was always there, no matter what. When two feet of snow covered the ground, he was there. Every Sunday, every Wednesday, every funeral . . . Raleigh was there. The church family could always count on him to show up and support the church.

          Raleigh Matthews was faithful. Are we considered faithful? Dependable? How does faithfulness show up?

          Faithfulness shows up in our honesty. Proverbs 12:22 reads, “Lying lips are an abomination to the Lord, but those who deal truthfully are His delight.” Not only do we speak the truth, but also we are honest and above board in all of our business and personal dealings. We don’t take what is not ours, and we don’t keep what is not ours.

          Faithfulness shows up in our obedience. James 4:17 says, “to him who knows to do good and does not do it, to him it is sin.” Do we do what God commands us to do? For many of us, it’s not a matter of not knowing what God expects. It’s a matter of not doing.

          Too often, we make excuses.

          Why do we make excuses? Sometimes because we’re afraid we will fail, or we haven’t managed our time well, or we’ve simply put off what we should have prioritized. A lack of discipline hurts us.

Maybe you’ve heard the story about the farmer who told his wife he was going out to plow the “south forty.”  He got off to an early start so he could oil the tractor.  He needed more oil, so he went to the shop to get it.  On the way he noticed the pigs needed feeding.  So he proceeded to the corn crib, where he found some sacks of feed.

The sacks reminded him that his potatoes were sprouting.  Then when he started for the potato pit, he passed the wood pile and remembered that his wife wanted wood in the house.  He picked up a few sticks of wood and started for the house.  One the way, he passed by an ailing chicken lying on the ground.  He dropped the wood and immediately began to take care of the chicken.  When evening finally arrived, the frustrated farmer realized that he had never made it to the tractor, let alone to the field.

          Does this describe our approach to faithfulness?

          Faithfulness shows up in our support of our church. Church attendance has taken a hit these days because Sunday has become just another day instead of being the Lord’s Day. Commitment is not as high as it once was, yet our churches still need our support. Where are the Raleigh Matthews of our day?

          Faithfulness shows up in how we keep our word. Michael Hyatt shared about a situation in his corporation. A former executive in his company made a commitment to a third-party via email. This person obviously didn’t research the cost of his promise, nor did he get anyone else’s approval.

          Hyatt didn’t know about the obligation until the other party brought it to his attention. The commitment was an over six figure commitment.

          Hyatt immediately had some valid thoughts: The executive was no longer at the company and he obviously didn’t count the cost. And, he wasn’t authorized to make this commitment. The amount wasn’t in their budget and top brass was not aware of this hefty obligation.

          After sifting through these thoughts, Hyatt remembered that their company’s core value was “Honoring God” in everything we do.

          Then they have several statements that expound on their core value, one of which is “we honor our commitments, even when it is difficult, expensive or inconvenient.”

          They honored their word, even in a time when people often don’t honor their word. (https://michaelhyatt.com/keeping-your-word.html).

Dr. David Chancey