This article is a repost, originally published on July 18, 2010.
His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master.’ (Matthew 25:21,23 ESV)
The word “Faithful” is one of the favorite adjectives of all the new testament speakers and authors. As a matter of fact there are almost 48 verses in the new testament itself referring to God’s faithfulness towards us and to the faithfulness of many believers. Note that Jesus never said, all who have prayed the salvation prayer and go to church regularly will be saved! But he said, the one who endures to the end will be saved. (Matthew 24:13 ESV) and further added “Be faithful unto death, and I will give you the crown of life.” (Revelation 2:10 ESV) (Galatians 5:22 ESV) The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, Faithfulness…
Webster’s dictionary explains faithfulness as genuine loyalty, firm adherence to allegiance & duty, fidelity, strict adherence to promises, trustworthiness, etc. Goodness and faithfulness are the two sides of the same coin. A person who is not integrally good can never remain faithful, and a person who is unfaithful, lacks genuine integrity. The root Greek word for faithfulness is ‘pistis’ and for faithful is ‘pistos’. It is generally translated in the new testament as faith or assurance or belief or fidelity.
Strong’s dictionary defines this word as a ‘moral conviction’. In other words, if a person has to demonstrate genuine faithfulness, he needs to have a strong moral conviction about who he is and what God expects from him!
Degrees of Faithfulness:
Jesus quoted many parables teaching about the importance of faithfulness. We could deduce a few conclusions on the basis of those parables.
The first is “to whom much is entrusted, from them more will demanded” (Luke 10:48). Self explanatory, isn’t it? If you have learnt more, seen more, have more and lived longer than your brother, you will have to give a greater account.
The second is “one who is faithful in very little is also faithful in much” (Luke 16:10). At times we ask God reasons for scarcity of resources or souls. It is generally because God is testing our faithfulness in little things before trusting us with greater resources or souls.
The third is “God tests our faithfulness in money before trusting us with spiritual riches” (Luke 16:11). Jesus preached more about money than any other preacher in the bible. Here is the reason, as long as God doesn’t see us use money wisely and faithfully, God will not trust us with true spiritual blessings.
The fourth is “lack of faithfulness can land you up in hell” (Matthew 25:15-30). As scary as that sounds, it’s true!!
Son or Servant?
There is a great difference in the faithfulness of the old testament and the new testament. The attitude of the saints in the old testament is different than the attitude of believers in the new testament. Moses was faithful in all God’s house as a servant, but Christ is faithful over God’s house as a son. (Hebrews 3:5,6) That is the same attitude that God expects from us. There is a great difference between Sons and Servants. God has given us the authority to be his children (John 1:12). A servant will only be faithful as long as he is paid well and is well appreciated. But the attitude of a son is not so. A son takes the ownership of the entire thing that his father has entrusted in his hands. He will never give excuses because he has taken up the responsibility to see the task fulfilled.
However, we can never serve as sons before we learn how to serve as a servant!! (Luke 16:12) We all start as children and as servants. As we live in obedience to God and the leading of His Spirit, we mature into becoming sons. Faithfulness is an essential quality of a loyal son. Not only is it enough to know who we are but also to know what we are supposed to do. We need to know the purpose of our lives and the call of God upon our lives. We need to be faithful in the ministry that God has entrusted us with, on this planet earth. The people that come our way don’t just walk right in. God brings them our way by divine appointment. May the Lord help us to remain faithful in all those small and big relationships as well. If we have a strong moral conviction of who we are and what we are called to do, faithfulness is bound to follow in our character!
Looking forward to that day, when my Master will call me “Good and Faithful” servant and I pray and hope that’s your desire also.