“Faithfulness can make up for many shortcomings.” Those are the words I heard in a sermon many years ago -- words that have stuck with me and made a profound difference in my life. When I heard those words, I related to them immediately. I knew for sure I had many shortcomings, and was excited to learn I could make up for them.
I was well aware that I was impatient, critical, demanding, indecisive, tactless, and often self-centered, ungrateful, anxious, and lacking in courage. I still struggle with some of those things. Plus, there are many things I cannot do well or cause me to quake in my boots when I attempt them, such as going to church alone, speaking in front of a crowd, sharing my faith, correcting others, or kindly confronting someone who has wronged me. Sometimes I find it difficult to forgive or pray consistently. I am not a gifted speaker, a natural leader, a salesperson, an initiator, an extrovert, or a person who comes up with fantastic ideas. My sense of humor is pretty good, but I always think of what I could have said long after the opportune moment. Actually, as I reveal this list, I am thinking that I must have more than my share of shortcomings. Have you ever made a list of yours? The good news is that now I know there is something you and I CAN do to make up for our shortcomings. When we make the effort, pray, and yield to the Holy Spirit, we CAN be faithful.
I can be faithful to pray when I’ve promised to do so. I can be faithfully available to family and friends when they need me -- not just when it’s convenient. I can be faithful to give a smile to everyone I meet and a heartfelt “thank you” when someone does even a small thing for me. I can be faithful to keep my house tidy and welcoming for my family and whoever may stop by. I can be faithful to read my Bible every day. I can make God the first priority in my life and yield to the daily “interruptions” He brings. None of these things take talent, a high IQ, or a charismatic personality. All they call for is a commitment to faithfulness.
Over the years I have learned to faithfully do what God has called me to do. I have learned that when God calls me to a task, it must take priority over personal pleasures, pastimes, and passions. My husband set an example for me. He was a football player when he was in school and after he graduated from college, he continued to immerse himself in football. He hardly ever missed a game on T.V. He read every football article in the newspaper and loved talking about football. Then God called him to teach a men’s Bible study at church. As he studied God’s word and developed a love and concern for the men in his group, his priorities began to change. Instead of being faithful to football, he became faithful to the task and the men God had given him. No longer was every Sunday afternoon and Monday evening spent in front of the T.V. Barry could be found at the dining room table with his Bible and study books spread out in front of him -- or on the phone with someone who needed a listening ear. During this time, I was changing too and both of us were discovering that life is not about “us” but about being faithful to God and to others.
Life changes when faithfulness becomes a priority. At first it can be hard to turn your back on the things that give you instant gratification or fulfill a need for something you are sure you cannot live without. But you know what? All of those things are fleeting. They are things that can be shaken and they will not remain (Hebrews 12:26-27). What will remain and be remembered in the end are not the good times, the way we pampered ourselves, or the extra things we owned. What will be remembered is the faithfulness.
I often picture in my mind the apostle Paul, standing in glory before the Lord on judgment day. It is a day he looked forward to with joy because he knew he had faithfully run the race of life on this earth. He knew that his life had glorified God and that God’s glory would shine through him for eternity (2 Thessalonians 1:10). Paul always let his faithfulness shine. In what ways is God calling you to let your faithfulness shine? When will you begin to let it happen?
P.S. Someone asked me recently why I continue to write this blog on an “obscure” (her word) website where hardly anyone reads it. My answer was, “faithfulness”. God has called me to write, so I will write. He will draw those who need to hear.
I have been involved in Disciplers since 1987, as a discussion leader, teacher, writer, and now as director. I am profoundly committed to the stewardship of this ministry which God has entrusted to me for a time. God’s word is the chief joy of my life. I cherish my personal time in the word, and I am filled with gratitude to be able to share His word with you, my fellow disciples in Christ.