One word kept repeating over and over in my head.
But I want to do something great…something big.
I heard it again: faithful.
Lately I’ve been learning that it’s oftentimes the overlooked “little” things in life that turn out to be what’s most important.
It was probably after 11 o’clock at night when we got back to the church with the tractor. “Great,” I thought, “Now we can leave it here overnight for someone else to come in the morning and plow all the snow out of the way.” I was wrong. As the snow fell increasingly faster and harder onto the pavement, we stayed. “Okay, this is fine. Surely it won’t take too long.” I was wrong again. Obviously I had never plowed snow from an entire parking lot before. This Tennessee girl is not very familiar with all this Missouri snow.
At first it was a fun and exciting experience for me. Pushing and pulling a pile of snow from one side of the parking lot to the other. Wrapping it around the building so that cars would have a place to park in the morning. But after the first 45 minutes, that excitement slowly began to fade away. It was way past my bedtime anyway, and I was beginning to wonder what the point of all this was anyway.
“This has got to be the last wrap around the building, right?” I thought to myself multiple times only to be wrong yet again. Little did I know, we still had over an hour and half’s work left to do. As my eyes were drooping and I was wondering if I’d ever see a pillow again, the word popped in my head. Faithful. That’s exactly what this is. This is not a fun task by any means. It’s monotonous and seemingly never-ending. This is not a job that receives any recognition or applause because at two in the morning, we’re still plowing away. This job calls out to the faithful. The faithful ones who are committed to the work no matter how unrewarding or inconvenient.
But I want to do something great…something big.
This is a call to the faithful because “radical faith looks a lot like faithfulness” (Sarah Bessey). I believe that to my core. Did you get that? This radical faith that I want, flows only from persistent faithfulness. Day in and day out doing what I know to do. It doesn’t happen overnight or through some huge act of faith. It comes from being faithful in the mundane and everyday tasks. Not very often do we truly get an opportunity to change the world, but we do have the choice every day to be faithful.
At the dawn of 2017, looking forward into the year with hopeful eyes, I want to grow in faithfulness. I want this word to resonate within my soul and mind month in and month out as I remember that this is what’s most important. Faithfulness is what is most important. This is the whole point that I oftentimes miss. So what are we to be faithful to? I’ve thought of a handful of practical things to be faithful in right now every day:
Faithful to a community of believers. Even on those early Sunday mornings when I want just one more hour of sleep. Faithful because what’s the point if I’m not faithful? As a part of the body of Christ, if I am failing in my role as the ear or the elbow, the whole body suffers (see 1 Corinthians 12). Because faithfulness recognizes that it’s not all about me. Faithful even when people don’t always think like I do and things don’t always go my way. Faithful to the relationships in my life. To my family, friends, and even acquaintances and strangers. Because I believe that the people in my life are placed here divinely and for a reason. And we are all image-bearers of God. As the body and as humans, we need each other. Life isn’t meant to be lived alone.
Faithful to spiritual disciplines. This one can be tough. If we are not faithful in this, we will fail. The exact thing Satan wants for us is to read the Word sometimes, to pray occasionally. A close walk with God takes a prioritizing and a commitment to pray and read the Word even when it doesn’t feel like it’s working and even when life gets busy. We must be faithful in these. Faithful when everything is going well and faithful when life is falling apart. That’s what faithful means. When we’re faithful to taking God’s word seriously, when we hide it in our hearts and think on it and meditate on it and talk about it, it will become our greatest comfort, our greatest guide, our greatest truth. But only if we are faithful.
Faithful to the right nows. Life is right now. People are right now. I think it’s easy to get caught up in the future, to get caught up in the somedays that we miss the right nows. Once I’m out of school, that’s when my real life will start. Once I’m married, then I’ll be on the right track. No. Life is now. Let’s be faithful to the right nows. To soak up every moment as a gift and not waste our right nows.
Faithful to Faithful God. Because it is only through Faithful God that I know what faithfulness even looks like. It is only by the enabling power of his faithfulness that I have the ability to be faithful at all. Great is thy faithfulness, O God, my Father…Thou changest not, thy compassions, they fail not.
So here’s the point: faithfulness may not look like an exhilarating ride that brings attention and flashing lights. More times than not, faithfulness looks like long, hard work. Whether this comes in the form of household chores or sharing a conversation or doing the uncomfortable and stepping outside of your comfort zone, faithfulness is here and now. And it is calling to those who are dedicated. The misconception is that big and great things are the opposite of everyday faithfulness when, on the contrary, they go hand in hand. It is only through the everyday faithfulness that radical faith begins to take root.
This is a call to the faithful. Because faithful calls now, and it calls every day. A call to be faithful. To live faithful. To follow Faithful God.