Good And Faithful
Faithfulness involves knowing to whom you belong and for whom you're working.
Alright thank you very much, and hello again radio friends. How in the world are you? You doing Alright? Well, I have a mental picture of so many of you whom I know. Somebody’s driving already to work and you’re timing whether or not you are late for work, as to where I am in the broadcast. Someone wrote me the other day and said, “If I’m not in the middle of the Verrazano Bridge when you say, ‘How in the world are you?’, I know I’m late”. Well, don’t be late. Nice to know that that people listen in terms of the daily routines and that the blessing of God can be mixed with daily living. Aren’t you glad that’s so?
You don’t have to wait to go to church to be blessed. You can be in the presence of your blessed Lord if you’re doing the dishes, or packing a lunch or driving to work, or whatever you may be doing. Oh I’m fine, thank you. Nice of you to ask. I’m doing great, praise the Lord! Full of vim and vigor and vitamins and all the rest.
You and I are looking at Colossians. We started there and I think for a little while we’ll just sort of walk around in this portion of the garden of God’s Word. Last time we got together we remarked that Paul was an apostle. He had been sent with the Word of God, even as you and I are, by the will of God.
What you are, where you are, the job in which you are, the circumstances you face, are part of God’s blessed will for you, written to the Saints. You don’t have to wait to have been dead 400 years before you could be beatified and become a saint. You are, if you know the Lord Jesus as your Lord and trust Him as your Savior, you are, God says, “His Saint”.
Then he says, “And faithful brethren in Christ at Colossae”. I’d like to stop for a moment and talk with you about this matter of faithful brethren in Christ, may I?
What does it mean to be faithful? Well on the surface of it, full of faith. That’s the start. Christian work becomes a burden and boring and ultimately leads, I’m sorry to tell you, even to embitterment, if it is not done in faith.
Look at some of these people who don’t know the Lord, but who are in religious work. My heart goes out to them. What do they have to talk about? No wonder they look for issues. No wonder they look for something concerning which they can march in a picket line. They don’t have any message to give other than that of changing society, and so we have what we call all over the world, the liberation theology, which was born in the hearts of people who had forsaken the dynamic of the Gospel, and who were then looking for something to dignify their clerical status. Christian work, that is to say what we call the ministry. Any kind of ministry becomes a burden and boring and ultimately bitter, unless my friend, you are in Christ, “Brethren in Christ, faith filled brethren in Christ”.
If you have faith that transforms your life then beloved, you’ve got something to share with someone else. Isn’t it true? But if all you have is a religious point of view, then you are limited to some kind of polite dialogue, not to say argument, concerning issues that may be raised.
Christian ministry, beloved, is not a debate, it’s a miracle. There’s a difference. You can’t bring someone to a saving knowledge of Christ by winning an argument over him or her, but you can enthusiastically, lovingly share your faith in Christ with someone else, and find that somehow God the Holy Spirit has awakened a hunger in that other heart for the Christ you know.
Am I talking to someone today who is in religious work, but you’ve never really known the joy of being born from above? Committing yourself completely to the Lord Jesus Christ. You know all the verbiage. You can speak easily in terms of religious concepts. You may have a graduate degree and all of that, and I respect the hard work that is gone into the degree of preparation that you now have, but brother, sister, you need to know the Lord Jesus Christ in that transforming, thrilling experience where the Lord Jesus comes to dwell within your life by His Holy Spirit and every step then becomes a continuing miracle of God’s grace. That’s the beginning of faithfulness, full of faithfulness.
But in terms of daily life and work, what does it mean? “Faithful brethren in Christ”. Well, I think first of all, you need to know to whom you belong. “It is accounted among stewards that a man be found faithful”, says Paul. “Well done, thou good and faithful servant”, the Lord Jesus said in His teaching concerning the ultimate rewards or lack of same, at the end of life’s way. Know to whom you belong. Faithfulness in God’s work starts with belonging to the Lord.
The matter of unquestioning loyalty comes up here. I read a sign once that stuck in my memory, “The boss may not always be right, but he’s always the boss”. He may not always be right, but he’s always the boss. I was complaining one time, many years ago, to a friend about some conditions of my work that I didn’t like. When I finished my complaint, this man who was several decades older than I, and had the accumulated wisdom of the years as well- it developed as considerable moral courage- looked me right in the eye and he said, “Well Bob, I’ve always felt that if you work for a man, you better work for him. I think you have to decide whether or not you want to be loyal or not”. Well, that put me in my place, didn’t it? Certainly did.
If you’re going to work for man, work for him. Don’t just sit around and badmouth the job or the boss. If you can’t stand the conditions on that job, go get another one, but then this whole matter of loyalty comes up, and I think it’s a lacking quality in our day. You won’t find all that much of it.
We have for the most part a mentality that says, “Let’s show them”. Now the them, generally speaking, means management, doesn’t it? We’ll show them. And to be fair about it, people in management throughout the years have had the same type of mentality toward their employees, “We’ll show them”. Well now, that’s not the way you do it, is it? No, it isn’t and I’m not speaking against trade unionism and all that. Some of my listeners belong to a union. Go ahead, be a good member of a good union.
The point I’m making is, loyalty is in short supply these days. Faithfulness involves knowing to whom you belong and for whom you’re working, and we start that of course in our relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ, “Faithful brethren in Christ”. Am I really a servant? The Bible word for servant is our word slave, dulas in Greek, slave. Am I really Christ’s slave? Do I belong to Him in the sense of His owning me, body, soul, and spirit? ‘You’re not your own”, says Paul, “for you’re bought with a price, therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, both of which belong to God”.
Do you follow me in this? It’s not an easy truth, is it, to receive? I squirm a little bit when I start talking about it because of my own frailties and shortcomings, as well, God knows, as all the rest of us. But here we have a basic truth, to be faithful means to know whether or not I really belong to God and to be faithful on the job depends upon whether I really am committed to the job I am doing, under the supervisor or the boss, or the owner of the business, or whatever it may be.
Now, all of this is within the context of your Christian experience. It’s not just to be a good worker that counts. It’s not to be a faithful servant that counts. It is to be faithful in Christ, so that what you do, you’re doing for Him. “whatever you do, do it heartily as for the Lord”, says Paul, not just people, “knowing that of the Lord ye shall receive the reward of the inheritance, for ye serve the Lord Christ”.
So, it’s not simply in the context of working for John Doe. It is in the framework, rather, of belonging to the Lord Jesus Christ and doing what you do, heartily for Him. Faithful, know to whom you belong and for whom you are working. Loyalty is involved, and faithfulness I think is involved in knowing the job. What is it that you’re supposed to do? The world is full of people who are busy doing the wrong thing or busy doing nothing and appearing busy, isn’t that true?
I dropped into a coffee shop, about 135 blocks north in Manhattan, up in a little section there that really isn’t too elegant, but I was coffee thirsty and I had to make a call up that way, years ago, and so I dropped into the coffee shop and asked for a cup of coffee. Sat at the counter. The person behind the counter was busy doing something, very busy with a cloth, a dish cloth, rubbing and scrubbing and working. And now, as I was drinking my coffee, a little dramatic scene unfolded before me. The boss came in from the backroom and descended upon this hapless waiter and said, “What are you doing”? He said, “Why, I’m busy. Can’t you see I’m busy”? “Yes”, he said, “you’re busy but you’re not doing what I told you to do”. Ah, there’s the difference.
You know, I have found that it is far easier to busy myself about non-essential things, than it is to tackle something difficult that is really important. Isn’t that true? That’s why we tell people; prioritize your activities every day. Put the most important thing at the top of the list and then next most important, then so on down, and tackle the most important thing first. Prioritize your day, tackle the most important thing first. Well, this hapless waiter there in the coffee shop was busy, but busy doing the wrong thing. Faithfulness means know your job and get at it, doesn’t it?
Today, ask your Lord to direct you. “In all thy ways, acknowledge Him and He shall direct thy paths”, we read in Proverbs 3. Ask your Lord to direct you in doing what God wants done and then get at it. Well, we’ll take this up again the next time we get together.
Dear Father today, make us faithful, doing Thy Will, Amen.
Till I meet you once again by way of radio, walk with the King today and be a blessing!
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