Thoughts on Faithfulness – Jeremy Austill

Thoughts derived from
Ephesians 1:1

This letter is from Paul, chosen by the will of God
to be an apostle of Christ Jesus. I am writing to God’s holy people in Ephesus,
who are FAITHFUL followers of
Christ Jesus.  (Ephesians 1:1)

 Faithfulness…

Well done you good and
faithful servant…

He is faithful…

Prove yourself faithful…

The word “faithful” is one
frequently bandied about in Christian circles. It is a high volume term in the
lexicon of christiandom. To be honest, it is a word in my youth from which I
have often retracted. It seems the most common usage of the term in ministry
circles is in conjunction with longevity. I do not think longevity and faithful
are bad companions. As a matter of fact I believe they are appropriately
coupled. However, for a guy who is currently in his longest tenure in ministry
(approaching 5 years), the idea of faithful and longevity being knit together
causes some angst. Have I actually been faithful? On some level I have always
felt apologetic about my lack of longevity/faithfulness. I will not clutter
this writing with the details of all the transitions Michelle and I have made
through the years. I will simply say there are a million reasons to leave…and a
million reasons to stay. Is it possible to be faithful without spending 20
years at a particular work? Is it possible to spend 20 years working at
something and not actually be deeply faithful? Here is what I think…I think it
is dangerous to take rich spiritual concepts and boil them down to a limited
amount of external factors. Maybe someone stays 20 years because they get
comfortable and become numb to The Voice beckoning them elsewhere. Maybe
someone leaves quickly because they are self ambitious and looking for personal
gain. Maybe there are a plethora of scenarios, thoughts, emotions and whispers
in between these two extremes which tell a deeper story. To boil faithfulness
down to staying or leaving is to possibly miss a greater truth.

In the Greek the word “pistos” (faithful) has a simple
meaning…trustworthy. It is derived from another word “peíthō” which means persuaded. Additional meanings are “loyalty to
faith” or “fullness of faith.” In reality this word has little to do with
ministry assignment. It is not about “sticking around” unless faith requires
that you “stick around.” I think I have a new, more detailed definition of the
word faithful as it relates to spiritual life.

 Faithful: To be so persuaded (that God is who he says he is) that one’s
internal dialogue and decision making is full of faith, which leads to heaven
pleasing outward expressions. As a result one is found trustworthy in the eyes
of God.

Faithfulness
is an internal posture of the heart that is found equally in the short timer
and the long timer. To be faithful is first and foremost to be utterly convinced.
Convinced of what?……..God. Period. So convinced that every fiber of our
being ebbs ands flows to the rhythm of that certainty. Every word dripping with
that certainty. Every gesture of the hand cued by that certainty. Every thought
submerged in that certainty. Every decision in response to that certainty.

I have
learned through years of leading, without being found trustworthy it is
difficult to “use” a person or place them in increased levels of authority and
responsibility. Therefore, it stands to reason if we are not found to be
faithful we have put a substantial lid on what God can or is willing to do in
our lives. God searches for the faithful not the gifted. He doesn’t necessarily
search for the one that stayed put in physical residence. He searches for the
one unmoved in the heart.

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