June 06, 2007

Significant Reliability
by Rick Warren

«And the things which you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses, these entrust to faithful men, who will be able to teach others also.» (2 Timothy 2:2 NIV)

Let me ask you something: Can you be counted on? Are you a faithful person?

The word «faithfulness» is not one we hear very often these days. It’s one of those words we usually reserve for retirement party speeches. After 25 years of «faithful service,» you get a gold watch.

When most of us think of the word ‘faithful,’ we think of things that are old. My dog may be old and ugly, but he’s faithful. My car may be old and ugly, but it’s faithful.

But what does it mean to be faithful? It means to be reliable. It means to be trustworthy, dependable, and consistent. Faithfulness is a rare quality. The Bible says, «Who can find a faithful man?» (Proverbs 20:6 NKJ)

It’s not easy to find someone who can really be counted on. The Good News Bible translates Proverbs 20:6 this way: «Everyone talks about how loyal and faithful he is, but just try to find someone who really is!» As a pastor, I’ve learned the truth of that statement. I’ve learned that not everyone who volunteers to serve will actually come through.

Why is faithfulness so important in the Christian life? In the first place, we should be faithful because God is faithful. Psalm 33:4 says «He is faithful in all He does.» Since God desires for us to be like him, he wants us to learn to be faithful.

In addition, faithfulness makes life much easier. Unfaithfulness is the cause of so many problems that Proverbs 25:19 says «Like a bad tooth or a lame foot is reliance on the unfaithful in times of trouble.» Do you know what the writer is saying? He’s saying the unreliable people are a pain – like a bad toothache. They’re like a foot with a bunion or a corn on it. That hurts, doesn’t it? When you’re depending on an unreliable person, you can never quite relax. In the back of your mind you’re always wondering, «Will he let me down again or will he come through this time?» Working with inconsistent people is extremely frustrating.

We all look for faithfulness in others as we go about our daily activities. We want the paper carrier to be reliable. We want the mail carrier to be faithful. When I mail a letter, I depend on the mail service to get it there. I want the food at my favorite restaurant to be consistent from week to week.

The most famous geyser in America is Old Faithful at Yellowstone National Park. Old Faithful is not the biggest geyser in America. And it’s not the most powerful geyser in America. What makes it famous is it goes off like clockwork. It’s dependable. People appreciate dependability, even in a geyser.

So what?

· Who can count on you? – Do you have a reputation for being reliable? Would someone who knows you well stake his life on your faithfulnessí Few things are more important than faithfulness. You may be talented, educated, and creative but if you’re not dependable, your talents aren’t worth much. Someone has said, «The greatest ability is dependability.»

· God rewards faithfulness – That’s how much he desires our faithfulness in our relationships and with our resources. In the Parable of the Talents recorded in Matthew 25, Jesus says that one day God is going to judge us. But this judgment will not evaluate our ability or good intentions. God is going to judge us and reward us according to our faithfulness. The Bible promises that a faithful man will be richly blessed.

· Focus on the donation of your life – The duration of your life is of less importance to God than the donation of your life. Take what you’ve learned from God and pass it on to others. What do you need to change in your life so you can begin living for godly significance?

© 2007 Rick Warren. All rights reserved.



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