Mar 06 2013

No Other Way But to Trust and Obey

Published by at 7:00 am under PeaceMeal

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Perhaps the most important characteristic of a steward is faithfulness: “Now it is required that those who have been given a trust must prove faithful” (I Cor. 4:2). Faithfulness is not a matter of results; it is a matter of dependent obedience. God knows that you cannot control other people, so he will not hold you responsible for the ultimate outcome of a conflict (Rom. 12:18). What he will look at is whether you sought his strength and guidance, remembered the freedom and power you have through the gospel, and obeyed his commands and wisely used the resources he has given you. If you have depended on him and done your best to resolve a conflict in a loving and biblical manner, no matter how the situation turns out, you will have earned that marvelous commendation: “Well done, good and faithful servant!” (Matt. 25:21a).

Adapted from The Peacemaker: A Biblical Guide to Resolving Personal Conflict
by Ken Sande, Updated Edition (Grand Rapids, Baker Books, 2003) p. 40.

Food for Thought

Just because it looks like faith, doesn’t mean it is faith.

“Faithfulness is not a matter of results; it is a matter of dependent obedience.” Ken’s statement boldly shows just how contrary the spiritual life is to what so many of us are living. In practically every area of our lives, results matter. Consider your job. It matters whether or not you complete a project by a due date or have your stats in place for the next project meeting. Consider your family. It matters whether or not your kids are bringing home A’s and B’s or C’s and D’s. Consider your physical health. It matters whether or not all your efforts on the treadmill are translating into a better heart rate or reduced waistline. Results matter. And of course, this mentality profoundly affects our churches.

But this may be why true faith is so rare. It runs completely contrary to the way most of us spend our days. “Faithfulness is not a matter of results; it is a matter of dependent obedience.” Whoa! What was that word–dependent? Maybe that’s where the real rub begins, for faithfulness is about being dependent. Not a little bit. Not every once in a while. But daily, hourly, minute by minute.

When you check the boxes on your tax forms for dependents, you’re usually listing your children. Faithfulness is about becoming as a little child (dependent) and walking hand in hand with the Father. Jesus said something about that, didn’t he? And he added that those who didn’t approach him that way wouldn’t enter the Kingdom (Luke 18:17). Now that sounds like a result that really matters.

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