A few days ago, I had the distinct privilege of attending the dedication of the new Northwest University Oregon building located in Salem, Oregon. The building was formerly the Northwest Ministry Network office for the Assemblies of God. As a result of generous and visionary leadership, the building has been repurposed to educate Christian leaders in the state of Oregon.
The dedication experience was inspiring, led by Dr. Debbie Lamm Bray and her team of staff members. Many volunteered their time to complete the renovation on a small budget but with passionate vision. I have long appreciated Dr. Lamm Bray’s leadership, and her opening comments only increased my appreciation as she appropriately gave credit to her faithful staff and students above herself, as any good leader would.
We often view a faithful person as one who shows up when they are supposed to. When a person is on time for work, class, and scheduled appointments, they are faithful. However, faithfulness is much more than just showing up. Faithfulness is also wise stewardship of the resources, talent, money, time, or people with whom one has been entrusted.
Jesus gives us a clear perspective of faithfulness in the Parable of the Bag of Gold. He said: “Again, [the kingdom of heaven] will be like a man going on a journey, who called his servants and entrusted his wealth to them. To one he gave five bags of gold, to another two bags, and to another one bag, each according to his ability. Then he went on his journey…After a long time the master of those servants returned and settled accounts with them. The man who had received five bags of gold brought the other five. ‘Master,’ he said, ‘you entrusted me with five bags of gold. See, I have gained five more’” (Matt 25:14-15,19-20).
Faithfulness is the responsible management of what one has been given. The master gave the three servants great responsibility, and two of the servants proved their faithfulness. When they had proven their faithfulness, the master said to them, “Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!” (Matt 25:21). Faithful management often opens the door to future opportunities.
Faithfulness is a quality we can work on in every stage of our lives. Perhaps you are a student, and you don’t think you have much to be faithful with. Think about your finances: are you working to help pay your school bill? Do you manage your money well or spend it unnecessarily? How are you with turning in papers or assignments on time? Do you have a faithful, loyal attitude towards leadership or your supervisor? Faithfulness is a character quality one does well to embrace early in life and continue to master in every season.
Lord, thank you for entrusting every one of us with gifts. For those who feel they have nothing to steward, make them aware of their many blessings. Holy Spirit, help us be creative as we manage our resources for the cause of Christ. Amen.