Faithfulness in the Small Stuff
by Pastor Gene
Each time we gather to celebrate the Lord’s Table at Harvest we read our confession of faith. One part of it goes like this: “We believe that private and family prayer, the reading of the Scriptures, punctual attendance to the public worship of God and gathering together of His people, and special appointments for the purpose of corporate prayer, Bible study and Christian fellowship are in accordance with the Scriptures, and are important privileges and duties of professed Christians, and that obedience is the best evidence we can give of genuine love for the Lord.”
These are good things to believe, ‘Bible’ things. Who we are ‘as believers’ is far more than who we are ‘at church’ – “the public worship of God.” It’s also who we are at home – devoting ourselves to “family prayer” and “the reading of the Scriptures.” We might say that all of this is summed up in the statement that closes the paragraph: “Obedience is the best evidence we can give of genuine love for the Lord.” Jesus put it just like that! He said, “If you love me, you will keep my commandments” (John 14:15).
There’s no question that there’s a tendency to think we’re more faithful than we really are. “Many a man proclaims his own steadfast love, but a faithful man who can find?” (Proverbs 20:6)
It’s little wonder then that the Psalmist bemoaned the scarcity of faithfulness in Psalm 21:1: “Save, O Lord, for the godly one is gone; for the faithful have vanished from among the children of man.”
But have you ever noticed that it’s often easier to obey the Lord in the ‘big stuff’ than it is in the ‘small stuff’? There can be a tendency to think the ‘small stuff’ doesn’t matter as much, but it does to God! In fact, our obedience in the ‘small stuff’ may give us the very best snapshot of the condition of our spiritual health.
Faithfulness in Finances
The finances the Lord entrusts to us should be managed with integrity, frugality, generosity and great care. That’s because what we spend our money on is a pretty solid indicator of what really matters to us. What we’re willing to pay for is what we really care about. It just is.
Our careful attention to the small ‘stuff here’ will lead to the Lord trusting us “true riches,” spiritual riches. Jesus asked, “If then you have not been faithful in the unrighteous wealth, who will entrust to you the true riches?” Why? Because, Jesus said, “One who is faithful in a very little is also faithful in much, and one who is dishonest in a very little is also dishonest in much” (Luke 16:10-11).
And notice what our Lord will say to His faithful servants at His Second Coming: “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).
Over and over again Jesus reminds us that what we do with the ‘small stuff’ matters!
Faithfulness at Work
Work is another area where it’s easy to let our guard down. After all, a lot of our time is spent there! We usually work with the same people. Familiarity can set in.
We sometimes forget that God loves those people so much that He sent you and I to work alongside them! We’re there to tell them the truth about God, to pray for them in their distress, to testify of His goodness and of His incalculable love for them.
But if we’re not careful to tend to the ‘small stuff,’ we can easily damage our testimony in an unguarded moment. And remember, it’s our testimony that gives us the moral authority to share the Gospel effectively. In order to share our faith and be heard, our hearers must at least believe that we actually believe what we’re preaching – that it matters enough to have changed our life.
Furthermore, faithfulness to God (or the lack of it) is expressed in the way we manage our obligations at work. If someone has hired us to build his business, we should be faithful to work as unto the Lord in doing so. In Luke 16:12, Jesus asked, “If you have not been faithful in that which is another’s, who will give you that which is your own?”
Paul echoed the same sentiment in 1 Corinthians 4:2: “It is required of stewards [those who manage the property of another] that they be found faithful.”
We often miss this, but we shouldn’t. We’re to work for our employers as though we working for the Lord Himself. “Don’t work only while being watched, in order to please men,” Paul warned, “but work wholeheartedly, fearing the Lord. Whatever you do, do it enthusiastically, as something done for the Lord and not for men, knowing that you will receive the reward of an inheritance from the Lord. You serve the Lord Christ.” (Colossians 3:22-24, HCSB).
And there’s the rub: we’re not ultimately working for our employer’s paycheck, but for the Lord’s reward.
The Lord’s Reward
The faithful Christian has the Lord ever before his or her eyes. Salvation is the Lord’s work, but faithfulness is ours. And while the reward should not be our primary motivation for remaining faithful, the Lord does want us to know that He is the Great Rewarder. In fact, if we would truly please the Lord we MUST believe that He is just that! For “without faith it is impossible to please God, for the one who draws near to Him must believe that He [#1] exists and [#2] rewards those who seek Him” (Hebrews 11:6).
And that’s precisely what the Lord will do at the Bema Seat Judgement – He will reward believers for their faithfulness. Unfaithfulness will be met with “loss” – not of salvation, but reward.
1 Corinthians 3:13-15: “ … each one’s work will become manifest, for the Day will disclose it, because it will be revealed by fire, and the fire will test what sort of work each one has done. If the work that anyone has built on the foundation survives, he will receive a reward. If anyone’s work is burned up, he will suffer loss, though he himself will be saved, but only as through fire.”
In another place, Paul reminds us that “we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may receive what is due for what he has done in the body, whether good or evil” (2 Corinthians 5:10).
And, in yet another place, that “we will all stand before the judgment seat of God …each of us will give an account of himself to God” (Romans 14:10,12).
The Lord is Searching for Those Who Are ‘Completely His’
God is looking for hearts that are fully devoted to Him. He’s searching for that kind of faithfulness – faithfulness in the details, the ‘small stuff’. 2 Chronicles 16:9 puts it this way: “The eyes of the LORD move to and fro throughout the earth that He may strongly support those whose heart is completely His.”
That’s how I want my heart to be: completely His. I wish I could say that’s always the case, but it’s just not. I need to be more faithful in the ‘small stuff’ because the ‘small stuff’ really matters.
Jesus, of course, rebuked the hypocritical Pharisees for concerning themselves with only the ‘small stuff’: “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you tithe mint and dill and cumin, and have neglected the weightier matters of the law: justice and mercy and faithfulness.” But notice, He didn’t tell them to ignore the small stuff! Rather, He said, “These you ought to have done, without neglecting the others” (Matthew 23:23).
Faithfulness to the Lord certainly means being faithful in the ‘big stuff,’ but it means being faithful in the ‘small stuff’ too. And as we strive to live lives that please the Lord, let’s do so embracing the promise that, “a faithful man will abound with blessings” (Proverbs 28:20).
To consider …
If it’s true that “obedience is the best evidence we can give of genuine love for the Lord,” then what does your love look like lately?
Are you more faithful to God in your public life or in your private life?
Is there a difference?
Should there be?
What might you do to change that?
Do you find it harder to honor the Lord in the ‘big stuff’ than you do in the ‘small stuff’?
Why do you think that’s true?
Do you manage your finances in a way that please the Lord?
Are you a good steward of what’s been entrusted to you?
I made the point that what we spend our money on is a pretty solid indicator of what really matters to us.
Do you think that’s true?
Why or why not?
If it is true, reflect upon what you spend your money on. Is what’s important to you important to Him?
Do you honor the Lord in your work?
Paul said we’re to work for our employer as though we working for the Lord Himself.
“Don’t work only while being watched, in order to please men, but work wholeheartedly, fearing the Lord. Whatever you do, do it enthusiastically, as something done for the Lord and not for men, knowing that you will receive the reward of an inheritance from the Lord” (Colossians 3:22-24, HCSB).
Do Paul’s words reflect your own philosophy of work?
Do you remember to hide the Lord’s promises that He will reward faithfulness in your heart?
How might doing so change your attitude toward work and your employer?
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