The word ‘faithful’ has changed in meaning, it has grown in meaning. It used to just refer to faith. Someone who had a lot of faith and lived faith consistently was ‘faithful” – full of faith. But Webster Dictionary tells us that it now means much more: faithful are they who are “…reliable, dependable, worthy of trust, honest, loyal, accurate, and true.” I guess we all sense that the meaning of ‘faithful’ is indeed very broad. It is a keyword that covers many facets of a special quality of life.
Faithfulness…without it life would lose its cohesion. When people relate to each-other in faithfulness they can count on each other. Faithfulness makes life possible.
Faithfulness begins with God. The word ‘faithfulness’ occurs hundreds of times in the Bible both with references to God’s being and doing. He is totally faithful. He cannot help but keep His word, His promises are ‘yea and amen’ in Christ. He keeps covenant forever. In His faithfulness, He keeps us in His care and provides for us in our needs. And people being made in His image also are equipped with the gift of faithfulness to each other. God’s gift of faithfulness becomes a calling, people in faithfulness relating to each other. From faithfulness, communities are being formed. Faithfulness, a gift, becomes its own challenge. Faithfulness makes life possible. It is so basic to life that both Christians and non-Christians can, and do, exercise faithfulness.
Here are some implications:
Those of us who are part of the working force will be faithful to colleagues by seeking their interest. Where we treasure a well-ordered society we will be faithful in doing our civic duties. Where we hope for a friendly neighborhood, we share in thoughtful gestures. We treasure the joys of salvation and so, in faithfulness, we offer our lives a thank-offering to our heavenly Father. And since we love His cause, we will be faithful in our support of the Christian church. Believers observe the suffering of fellow-humans and so they are faithful in doing mercy. Eager to share God’s cause with fellow-people, they become faithful in doing the work of missions and evangelism. And they follow the example of their Savior in being sensitive toward the pain of the sick and the misery of the suffering. Children note the faithfulness of parents and follow their examples. Faithful people are attentive to the well-being of people in a whole array of situations. In John 20 we read of one miserable week in Thomas’s life…it began with a lapse of faithfulness.
But the Savior took him aside and restored him to faith and faithfulness.