Loathing To Be Faithful In The Small Things

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In reading through Dale Ralph Davis‘ short commentary on Joshua, I stumbled upon the following statements…

We find being faithful in little more annoying than satisfying.

The Christian’s faith is not so much proved by his courage in a sudden crisis as by his faithfulness in daily plodding.

What this translates for me is that it is sometimes easier to feed the homeless than it is to load the family dishwasher.  It’s easier to spend a week overseas prayer-walking than it is to pray daily for an annoying neighbor.

Again, Davis writes:

We frequently and strangely prove faithful in the great crisis of faith, remain steadfast in severe storms, perhaps even relish the excitement of the heaviest assaults, yet lack the tenacity, the dogged endurance, the patient plodding often required in the prosaic affairs of believing life; we are often loath to be faithful in (what we regard as) little.

It’s the small things, however, that reveal our true character. On Sunday morning, I can preach eloquently and yet speak unkindly an hour later to the waiter at my favorite Mexican food restaurant.

Jesus said, one who is faithful in a very little is also faithful in much, and one who is dishonest in a very little is also dishonest in much.

The reality is that Christianity is pretty daily! Some days we just stumble along and nothing exciting appears to happen.

Rod Dryer writes…

Everydayness is my problem. It’s easy to think about what you would do in wartime, or if a hurricane blows through, or if you spent a month in Paris, or if your guy wins the election, or if you won the lottery or bought that thing you really wanted. It’s a lot more difficult to figure out how you’re going to get through today without despair.

Could it be that the reason we don’t deal well with “everyday Christianity” is because it doesn’t do much for our egos? We need to admit that there is a tendency to make “doing something big for God” our treasure instead of God Himself. And as a result, we will never be satisfied.

This is why we must continually go back to the gospel less we become adrenaline junkies moving from radical Christian venture to radical Christian venture trying to fulfill in our souls what can only be accomplished by Christ. As Augustine famously wrote, “Thou hast made us for thyself, O Lord, and our heart is restless until it finds its rest in thee.”

I don’t mean to infer that grace does not move us to radical action and mission. I think it does. However, we need to be aware that the radical action and mission God opens for you may be found in the ordinary routine of your life. It might just be that in the small things you do daily, the miraculous arises.

We do well to remember Jesus’s parable of the talents in Matthew 25. To those who are good stewards, the master says, Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master.

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