I’m so thankful for a God who is faithful! He is faithful to His promises! He is faithful to His Word! He is faithful in His love and forgiveness. What would all His attributes mean to us if He was not faithful to them? He is completely trustworthy every day and every minute of the day.
Today’s podcast episode is the last in the series of godly character traits. We’ll dive in a little deeper on the episode to learn how we can also be faithful and four specific areas of our lives that require this important attribute.
You can listen to the whole episode here. Here’s a snippet of the podcast…
I’m not a professional gardener, but I absolutely love having flowers, plants and herbs growing in my yard. I enjoy going out each day to water, clip and prune as necessary.Lately, however, it seems the thing I spend most of my time doing isweeding.There is a weed that is growing in my front flower bed that has a long vine, so when I go to pull it up I get a foot of vine and roots. If I’m not home to weed for a couple of days that weed goes crazy and pops its little head up everywhere!
This morning as I was reading Proverbs 24 I thought of my garden when I read verses 30 and 31 – “I went by the field of the slothful, and by the vineyard of the man void of understanding; and, lo, it was all grown over with thorns and nettles had covered the face thereof, and the stone wall there was broken down.” I wonder if this man’s weed was what’s growing in my yard? It has the same ability – it could completely cover up everything in a matter of time, and break down a stone wall. But why was it allowed? The beginning of the verse tells us the reason – the gardener was lazy. I wonder where he was and what he was doing all the while the weeds were taking over his beautiful garden with the stone wall? I also have to ask myself why things get put off in my world? Why are things left undone? Oh, I could come up with all kinds of good excuses:
There’s so much to do in a day
There simply aren’t enough hours to accomplish everything
Everyone needs me
I have to have a little down time too, you know!
I don’t get enough help from others
As I continued to read this passage it seems that the writer of this chapter was also wondering as he passed by this forsaken garden how this could have happened. It says in verse 32 – “Then I saw, and considered it well: I looked upon it, and received instruction. Yet a little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to sleep. So shall thy poverty come as one that travelleth; and thy want as an armed man.”
The destruction didn’t happen overnight. It happened slowly, just like when a person travels on foot makes slow progress. This lazy person prefers sleep. He wakes up, then rolls back over for another little nap. Instead of working he indulges himself in snoozing.
Laziness isn’t just seen in our gardens. It can be seen by: neglect of meal preparation – waiting until everyone is starved to begin trying to find something to eat. The piles of laundry that need to be washed, folded or ironed. The mounds of junk mail stacked on the counter or desk that need attention. The lesson waiting to be studied. The children in need of love, attention and teaching are loud voices of our drowsiness. The stacked up dishes, splattered mirrors, dusty furniture, cluttered closets, and unorganized cabinets are all like the broken down wall in the garden as they tell all that pass by that we are apathetic.
In trying to control my weed problem out front, I did some research and read this statement:
“Weeds are simply plants that are growing in the wrong place.”
When we neglect the things we should be busy about doing each day, we’re growing in the wrong place, too. Some of those “wrong places” could be – spending too much time at the Internet (it’s sure easy to do!), running around town more than necessary, being away too often just for the sake of going to have fun, or too much time on our phone. While we’re doing those things the weeds are taking over.
The article I read went on to say, Weeding is a very ‘low-tech’ job, the only tools required are a hand fork, a garden fork for larger specimens, and a bucket to collect the debris. Luxury extras are a kneeling pad and a pair of gloves. The tools we need to reign in laziness are also simple – godly discipline and elbow grease!
One prayer I pray often is, “Lord, establish the work of my hands today.” (Psalm 90:17) I need the Lord to help me keep focused and use my time wisely. I could easily waste a day on unnecessary things, things that would let the weeds grow like crazy while I was completely oblivious.
What are some things that you know the Lord would pleased you accomplish today? Don’t let the weeds take over and break down your walls!
Years ago when I was single, I was driving in town and all of the sudden my car sputtered, coughed, and then STOPPED.
I know nothing about cars, so I had no idea what the problem could be, but I assumed I had engine trouble.
I was teaching at a Christian school far away from my parents, so I called my pastor and told him my car was dead and I needed help. He came to my rescue and the first question he asked was,
“Do you have gas in your tank?”
“Oh yes, I have gas,” I replied.
My dad always said he doesn’t feel sorry for anyone who runs out of gas because you can see if you need to fill up! I tried to live by the good principle of keeping the tank full, and was sure that I hadn’t stooped to this negligent nature of not watching how empty my tank really was!
So, after my pastor did all the checking he could on the engine, he decided to look at the gas tank level. It was on empty. I can still remember the embarrassment I felt. No matter how much I said the tank had gas, the truth was eventually revealed.
Empty is never good. Think about it…
Empty life or even
Most men will proclaim every one his own goodness:
but a faithful man who can find?
Proclaiming our own goodness is using empty words. They come from the person who says they’re full, but they’re running on empty.
I go to church.
But their life is their own the rest of the week.
I’m a good person.
But they fail to realize that all are sinners in need of a Savior.
I’m better than _______.
They compare themselves to others instead of God’s standard.
I’m a Christian.
But they live their life as they please.
There’s little desire to grow, to be in God’s Word, or to talk to God in a relational way.
In a trial they fall apart.
In difficulty they are weak because they are far from God and they operate in their own strength and get what they can do, rather than what God wants to do.
They look just like an unbeliever in their lifestyle, their activities, conversations and desires.
If we’re honest, we all run on “empty” from time to time. The encouragement here in this Proverb is not to say you’re full, when you’re really not. We must be honest and admit the need. When we confess the need we call it what God calls it – this is repenting and turning from our own way. Then we open our arms and embrace God’s way instead. We allow Him to fill us and enable us to be faithful. You can keep your “tank” filled by reading His Word and talking with Him. Keep short accounts of your sin. Obey whatever He tells you to do. Your heart will be filled with His joy and His life!
Let’s not be like foolish I was, running on empty and thinking I could boast about being full. Let’s admit our emptiness and allow the Lord to sweetly come to our rescue!
The emptiness you feel can only be met in Christ. If He is already your Savior, tell Him your need and your heart’s longing. He promises to fill us with His presence and peace. If you’ve never trusted in Him to be your Savior for your sin, tell Him you want to have a relationship with Him, that you know you’re a sinner and need Him to save you.
Rather than boasting while on empty, let’s stay faithful and full!
So you served at your church yesterday? How did you do it? I’m not asking at what skill level you played the piano, or taught the children’s church lesson – I mean, how was your attitude and your mindset about your service?
Paul tells us in I Corinthians 4:2 that the only requirement is FAITHFULNESS. That rules out the need to be perfect, flawless, captivating or awesome. Those are characteristics of our God – not ourselves.
What are we to do? Just be faithful.
Be there on time
Faithfulness also rules out being
When we realize how much we have been given from our Savior, we realize that we have so much to give in return. It’s our blessing to GET to serve God in any small way – just out of the gratitude of our hearts. If you serve, yet…
no one sees when you miss hearing the preaching because you’re in the nursery again, cradling a crying baby so his mommy can hear the Gospel.
You try to convey to the junior age class that God wants them to stand firm like Daniel in this next school year and you wonder if they heard a word you spoke.
you sat alone in the service again becuase your husband was serving on security in the church parking lot on this 90+ degree day.
no one else saw all the work you did to you prepared a meal for any visitors that might come to church so you could invite them to join your family afterwards.
you practiced that offeratory 100 times, and still messed up on that hard part in the middle, but you had to play it because of how that song ministered to your heart during the week.
Be comforted that God sees and knows of your faithfulness – the one characteristic that he requires of us when we serve Him. He will reward you for it, and it will be worth any small sacrifice we may have made!
As juicy and delicious as Tootsie Roll Pops are, I haven’t had one in about twenty years. My reason? One day I was enjoying my favorite flavor (chocolate) and I had gotten past the hard sucker part and was enjoying the Tootsie Roll in the middle when I felt something give way in my mouth. It was part of my tooth! I literally got sick to my stomach. Curious, my tongue felt the area of the strangeness and realized that I had just successfully pulled the crown off my tooth with the sticky candy.
I made an appointment at the dentist to have it repaired, but up until that time, that tooth was a source of much discomfort. When I ate, I had to chew on the other side of my mouth since that back tooth was now useless. I tried to keep any kind of food from floating to the broken tooth, to avoid any more decay or trouble. I totally overused the other teeth, just trying to avoid the one that was out of commission. I was so relieved after it got repaired and I could use it once again! However, my personal rule is – NO MORE TOOTSIE ROLL POPS!
When I recently read Proverbs 25:19, I was made to think back to my injured tooth incident. The verse reads,
Confidence in an unfaithful man (or woman) is like a broken tooth…
An unfaithful woman brings discomfort to others because she can’t be counted on. Things that should be done are left lacking, causing difficulty for everyone else.
An unfaithful woman can’t be used. She’s not trustworthy. She’s not ready.
An unfaithful woman is avoided. Why call and ask her to serve in a ministry or lead this or help with that…it’s better to find someone else. She’s made a name for herself.
But, like my tooth, an unfaithful woman can be “fixed!” Simply by seeing her sin of unfaithfulness, and confessing that to the Lord, God can equip and use her once again. Her life can be steady and sure, bringing eternal rewards One day at the Bema Seat!
I’m proud to say, that I know a woman who is NOT a broken tooth, but a faithful, solid trustworthy servant of the Lord. We just recently honored her at church; her name is Reva. She has served in our church nursery for over 45 years! You could count on her to be there! You could be sure she would let someone know if she was going to be out due to sickness or vacation. You could trust her to be a loving worker and doting on those babies. You could bank on her week in and week out!
She is moving away, and she will be missed greatly at Boones Creek Bible Church, but I know that wherever she attends church, she will carry her faithfulness with her! We love you, Reva! May your tribe of faithful women increase!!!
Are you considered faithful, or more like a broken tooth? It’s a question we all need to ask ourselves and our Savior.