I once met a man who was a construction worker by trade. Before he married, his wife-to-be promised that she would prepare a hot meal for him to take to work—every morning. No peanut butter and jelly sandwich and a bag chips for this man. He opened his lunch container and showed me fried chicken, mashed potatoes and gravy, green beans, and fresh baked bread. There was even a piece of homemade apple pie. “When does she prepare all of this?” I asked. He smiled contentedly as he told me that she rises every morning at 3:00 AM to cook a hearty meal for him to take to work.
“They must be newlyweds!” you’re probably thinking. Nope. They were married for twenty-five years when I met the man, and he said she even did this for him when they had small children. The only exceptions were when she was too sick to get out of bed.
My point is not to praise this woman for what she did specifically. Rising that early to prepare an elaborate meal every day when a sandwich or a plate of leftovers would be more than adequate is indeed beyond the call of duty. (Husbands, you would be wise not to use this article as a hint that you would like similar treatment from your own wife.) My aim is simply to commend this woman for keeping her word. She promised, and she was faithful.
God is like that. He is “the faithful God, who keeps His covenant” (Deut. 7:9). Paul assures us more than once that God is faithful (1 Cor. 1:9; 10:13; 1 Thess. 5:24; 2 Thess. 3:3). The writer of Hebrews calls Jesus “a faithful high priest” (Heb. 2:17), noting that “He was faithful to Him who appointed Him” (Heb. 3:2). Peter encourages us to entrust our souls “to a faithful Creator in doing what is right” (1 Pet. 4:19). In His triumphant return Jesus is even named “Faithful and True” (Rev. 19:11).
Christians love to think of God’s promises, but the comfort and hope we enjoy is not bound up in the promises alone. We can rest in God’s promises because He always keeps His promises—because He is faithful.
The faithfulness of God draws our hearts to love Him, and to imitate Him. In some cases a believer’s faithfulness is proven through fire—literally. Many others have faithfully taught and defended the Bible where biblical teaching caused them great suffering. But the faithfulness of most Christians is tested and approved by God in ways that will never appear on the printed page.
Jesus said, “He who is faithful in a very little thing is faithful also in much” (Luke 16:10). Later He told a parable about some slaves whose master left them with a certain amount of money to use while He was away. When the master returned, he said to the slave who had faithfully invested the sum, “Well done, good slave, because you have been faithful in a very little thing, you are to be in authority over ten cities” (Luke 19:17).
You probably aren’t facing death as a martyr, and you most likely are not a famous preacher or writer, but what small demonstrations of faithfulness show up in your life?
- Are you a faithful employee for the sake of honoring Christ? Do you arrive on time, adhere to company rules, and work hard?
- Are you a faithful husband or wife even in your thoughts and with your eyes? Are you faithful to respect and build up your spouse in your speech even when he or she is not around?
- Are you a faithful parent, teaching and disciplining your children in the way God instructs you in His word? Do your children know you as one who keeps promises even when it requires self-denial?
- Are you a faithful child, obeying and honoring your parents even when they aren’t looking? Do your parents know you as a young man or woman of integrity? Are you trustworthy?
- Are you a faithful church member, keeping your commitments and participating actively with your brothers and sisters in Christ even when it calls for sacrifice? Or when the church gathers, do the other members wonder whether some lesser concern will keep you away?
- Are you faithful in your personal disciplines of Bible study, meditation, and prayer? How about the disciplines of self-control and financial giving? Do you keep the promises you have made to God, yourself, and others in these areas?
- Are you a faithful witness for Jesus? Do you speak the truth about Christ even when keeping silent would be easier?
Some Christians will be remembered for heroic deeds of sacrifice and service, others for volumes of important writing or a legacy of stirring preaching. What I hope for myself—and what I hope you will aim for—is to live in such a way as to hear these simple words from the Master when He returns:
Well done. You were faithful in the little things