1 Cor. 4:2 “Moreover it is required in stewards, that a man be found faithful.”
One night when my first daughter Stephanie was a new-born, I was sitting in the living room. It was dark, quiet, and peaceful. Renee had just finished nursing her and I took Stephanie and told Renee to go back to sleep. I took her into the living room and sat down in our rocking chair.
Holding my little baby girl in this new experience in this quiet and serene atmosphere seemed amazing. As I rocked her, I could not stop kissing her cheeks and I could not stop thanking God for this precious gift. Like any new parent in this position, a thousand thoughts flooded my mind – two of which I will never forget. One thought I remember was the overwhelming thought of how this new little girl was completely 100% dependent on Renee and I for everything. It sparked this sense of responsibility within me that scared me. The other thought was this feeling of selfishness. I suddenly felt so selfish. The past couple of years – the first two of our marriage – had been just about Renee and I doing everything for ourselves – for our pleasure and benefit. This was all coming to a screeching halt. Our lives were now quickly about doing things for her benefit.
Prior to her birth, I had the potential to be extremely faithful but only to what I wanted to be faithful to – usually motivated by selfishness. I was now learning to be faithful and make commitments that were somewhat forced upon me by this new season of children. It truly was life changing.
I was thankful that I had seeds of learning to be faithful deposited in my life along the way. When I was fourteen years old, I received a job as a stock boy in a small grocery store. The gentleman who hired me – Ozzie – turned out to be like a grandfather to me. I just loved him. He put a lot of faith in me. He treated me like an adult. He taught me many wonderful values and business principles. He put unmerited trust in me, giving me responsibility. 1 Cor 4:2 says that faithfulness should be required. “Moreover it is required in stewards, that a man be found faithful.” He had a way of expecting faithfulness out of me. Because he put faith in me, I wanted so bad to be someone he could count on. I became that person. I would do anything for that man. I worked hard for him and became someone he could count on eventually managing three grocery stores for him.
My own father was one of the hardest working men I had ever known. He modeled this incredible work ethic. I had some of the right stuff put in me but I was still selfish. I was only faithful when I wanted to be.
I gave my life to the Lord at the age of 24 and started attending an exciting Bible teaching church that taught from the Bible and opened my eyes and heart to God. I learned of God’s will for my life. Through preaching and Bible study, I was regularly confronted with the values and thoughts of stewardship, faithfulness, and commitment. Ephes. 4:11-16 taught me how spiritual maturity was enhanced –through the commitment of each person in the body of Christ finding ways to serve others in commitment. “God gave gifts to the church – the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers. Their responsibility is to equip (teach and bring maturity to) God’s people to do His work and build up the church… that we will be mature and full grown in the Lord… As each part (person) does its own special work, it helps the other parts grow, so that the whole body is healthy and growing and full of love.”
The Holy Spirit would constantly challenge me with today’s Fresh Manna verse – “Moreover it is required in stewards that a man be found faithful.” I was faithful to something things (for my self interest) but was I committed and faithful to consistently serve God and His people in various ways for their sake and in obedience to God? I didn’t think so.
God began to speak to me of the value of faithfulness to Him. Proverbs 3:3-4 says, “Let love and faithfulness never leave you; bind them around your neck, write them on the tablet of your heart. Then you will win favor and a good name in the sight of God and man.” I would constantly be challenged in church through the Pastor’s words,“If you want to learn to grow, learn to give. Learn to give of your love, your time, your talents and service, and your resources. Let God stretch you. Let God draw out those undiscovered gifts and talents within you through your commitment and service to Him and your church. What God teaches you in commitment in the church will add great character and blessing to help you succeed in the world around you and throughout the rest of your life.“
I decided to practice commitment. I was afraid – actually terrified of it but knew I should. I volunteered first serving in facility maintenance for two years. I added teaching 4 & 5 year-olds in Sunday school for nine years. I learned how to teach and facilitate a Bible study. I served in many many areas over the years. Each one stretched and tested my commitment. I learned to consistently serve others when I felt like it and when I didn’t. The true test of commitment and faithfulness of stewardship is when it’s not easy or convenient. The true test of financial stewardship is giving when you need the money elsewhere. That’s where your love walk will be developed and tested over and over and over again. Through these God will help you spiritually grow and develop and mature building real life transforming character through your trust in Him to help you be faithful. Without this training that came through learning commitment, I wouldn’t be a fraction of the man I’ve become today.
Our motivation to service should be out of a love for Jesus. That motivation is tested also. Does God know? Does He care? Yup! He does! Luke 12:43 says, “It will be good for that servant whom the master finds doing so when He returns.” More next time…
In His Love,
Pastor Tim Burt
Published by Pastor Tim Burt
Copyright© 2008 Tim Burt, All rights reserved.