“Moreover it is required in stewards, that a man be found faithful.” (1 Cor. 4:2)
This text goes right to the heart of what it means to be a true disciple of Jesus Christ. It’s simply a matter of faithful stewardship. A steward is one who ministers or manages the affairs of another. It’s a charge given to you by someone else, and you are ultimately responsible to that person alone, as the next verse indicates. In Paul’s case, he was a steward of the “mysteries of God,” he said. The things God showed Him were to be shown to others in a responsible, faithful way. And in the same sense, we as believers are given the responsibility of presenting the claims of Jesus Christ in our own place in God’s vineyard, using the talents and abilities He has given us with which to work, the one supreme qualification being faithfulness.
Sadly, though, we tend to equate faithfulness with a willingness to participate in certain scheduled activities in which our church or group may be involved, at any given time. These (nearly always) good and worthy endeavors may or may not indicate a love for God, however. They may only symbolize loyalty to a man or an organization; in which case, we are in danger of becoming disillusioned with the worthy endeavor when we become disillusioned with the man or organization. See what I mean?
True faithfulness, as described in the Bible, is to only one Person. Let me illustrate it this way: Let’s say you’re married to a man who comes home every night, provides for all your needs, always speaks highly of you in public, and is generally kind to you at all times. But unfortunately he has one flaw. At times, he succumbs to temptation and is sexually intimate with other women. Would you consider him to be a faithful husband? Before you say, “No,” I would remind you that he is faithful to all his obligations (activities, if you will) as a husband. The only problem is, he isn’t faithful to you.
The thing is, as a good steward of God, faithfulness is only applicable to activities to the extent that it reflects our faithfulness to Jesus Christ. And this requires literal faith. It is seen when we follow Him, sight unseen, and when we continue on, when we have every good reason to give up. It is seen when we say, “No,” to temptation, and when we cross the finish line as true to God as when we started.
Here’s the bottom line. As far as God is concerned, if your spiritual resume begins with the word, “faithful,” you’ve got the job.