by Pastor Tim Burt
Sometimes when I am sitting, praying, and thinking about how faithful God is, and how thankful I am to God for all He has done in my life, I think back to those times where He was shaping me when I was completely unaware.
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 was a Christian, but I didn’t really know that or understand what a Christian was. He wasn’t overly religious, but he was the most ethical man I had ever met. Even in his own store, when he would grab a snack off the shelf to eat, he would always go ring it up and pay for it. One time he told me that he refused to carry Playboy and other sexual magazines in his magazine rack even though they were large money-makers. He didn’t curse because he said, “Cursing makes things worse, not better and they diminish how people think of you.” His life seemed to always be about doing the right thing!
One day he said to me, “Though you’re only 16, I am going to treat you like a man.” He then quoted a Bible verse, (though I didn’t know it was one.) He said, “When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child; but when I became a man, I put away childish things.” 1 Corinthians 13:11 (NKJV) “It’s time!”
He taught me many wonderful values and business principles. He put unmerited trust in me, giving me responsibility that I could only hope to fulfill. He had a way of expecting faithfulness out of me. Because he put faith in me, I so badly wanted to be someone he could count on. He had a way of drawing it out of me. And over time, I became that person. I would do anything for that man. I worked hard for him and became someone he could count on. As He bought other small grocery stores, he would have me manage them until he could hire a full-time manager. I managed three of those stores for Him. He had planted seeds of faithfulness in me.
My own father was one of the hardest-working men I had ever known. He was amazingly faithful to his boss and to his profession and became one of the very best in his industry receiving national recognition for being one of the top performers in the nation. He modeled this incredible work ethic for us to learn from. He was a father of ten and he was faithful to his job, my Mom, his church, and to be a great dad to his children. He continually made sacrifices in his life for the sake of Mom and us kids.
Through preaching and Bible study, I was regularly confronted with the values and thoughts of stewardship, faithfulness, and commitment. The Holy Spirit would constantly challenge me to make commitments that would demand a purging of selfishness and require serving others selflessly. 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.”
Over time, my life and my heart were transformed by making commitments to the Lord concerning Renee, and my children, serving at church, and being faithful to diligently give my best in my livelihood. Every time I was stretched, my attitude and motivation were stretched.
God will help you spiritually grow, develop, and mature in character through your trust in Him to help you be faithful. Each new commitment and time of proving your faithfulness will stretch your motivation and attitude. Be faithful and it will richly transform you and reward you. Serve God your spouse, your children, and your boss or livelihood with faithfulness, and in years to come, you will see the fruit of it and be thankful beyond words. I live in that place today and could not be more thankful to the Lord for all He has helped me become. And He will do the same for you!
Colossians 3:23 (NLT2) “Work willingly at whatever you do, as though you were working for the Lord rather than for people.”
In His love,
Pastor Tim Burt
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