In today’s society, faithfulness is a rare commodity. Employees stay with their jobs only as long as its beneficial for them. Friends stand by each other only as long it’s good for their popularity. Spouses are faithful in both body & soul only as long as it’s not challenging.
The world says these standards are perfectly acceptable. But Christ calls us to go above & beyond the world’s standards in every area. The world’s standard of “faithful to Number One” is simply unacceptable to God!
The Bible has numerous examples of radical faithfulness in its pages. Take David Jonathan, for instance. Jonathan stuck by David even when David was “Israel’s Most Wanted Man”, so to speak. Or how about one of my favorite examples of radical faithfulness: Naomi & Ruth.
Ruth had lost everything she knew: husband, social status, home, money, etc. In times of loss, it is human nature to cling to what is familiar. No one could have blamed Ruth if she chose to live out her the rest of her life of widowhood in her homeland. Instead, she chose to take a leap of faith & exercise radical faithfulness to God & Naomi, by going with Naomi to Israel.
Remember, women, widows, foreigners, & the poor firmly occupied the lowest rung of the social ladder in Israeli society at the time. Ruth was all four! Such faithfulness required an enormous sacrifice. Ruth had to trust in God completely. She couldn’t listen to the taunting, discouraging voice of other people. She had to listen to God!
And look how amazingly God rewarded Ruth for her faith, faithfulness, trust, & Love! She not only had the course of her life turned around (she fell in love, got married, had children, became wealthy by marriage, etc) but also became an ancestor of Christ, & a book about her life has been canonized in the Holy Bible as sacred Scripture, read by billions of people for thousands of years.
Likewise, it is never easy to be faithful in today’s society. Everything in our culture discourages faithfulness to anyone or anything but “self”. Radical faithfulness such as that depicted in the Bible is these days the target of jokes, not the idealized-yet-achievable standard it is in Scripture.
But, IF WE TRUST GOD ENOUGH TO GO OUT ON A LIMB AND BE RADICALLY FAITHFUL, God will richly bless us for it. Like Ruth, we may not live to see all the ways in which our faithfulness literally changes the world; but I can assure you that in due time it will. The first step of obedience is up to you and me, though!
“Let Love and faithfulness never leave you; bind them around your neck, write them on the tablet of your heart.” – Proverbs 3:3 (NIV)