The Most Important Requirement!
Moreover it is required in stewards, that a man be found faithful.
— 1 Corinthians 4:2
People frequently ask, “How does God choose whom He wants to use?” This is an important question to ask, and one that you should ask if you desire to be used by the Lord. As you look at those whom God uses in a significant way, it will quickly become obvious to you that God doesn’t choose people simply because of raw talent or gifts. So there must be another, higher reason that causes Him to reach out and lay His hand on an individual to use him or her in a special way. What is that reason?
There are several answers to this question. In my book Say Yes, I discuss the reasons why God chooses some people and not others. Certainly God loves everyone, but God is not obligated to use everyone He loves. There are certain qualities that cause God to reach out and use some more than others. You need to know those reasons.
In First Corinthians 4:2, the apostle Paul gave us one answer to this question. Paul stated this so categorically that it seems this quality is at the top of God’s list of requirements for those who will do His work. Paul wrote, “Moreover it is required in stewards that a man be found faithful.”
I want to draw your attention to the word “faithful” in this verse. This word “faithful” comes from the
Greek word pistos, which is derived from the word pistis, the Greek word faith. However, in First Corinthians 4:2, the word pistos doesn’t refer to faith as a spiritual force; rather, it denotes a person who is faithful. This is a person whom God has found to be faithful, trustworthy, reliable, dependable, true, and unfailing.*[If you started reading this from your email, begin reading here.]
But how does God know if a person is faithful, trustworthy, reliable, dependable, true, and unfailing? Paul answered this question when he wrote, “Moreover it is required in stewards that a man be found faithful.” There is no second-guessing with God about this question. The word “found” emphatically means that God watches us over a long period of time and in many different circumstances to see if we are faithful, trustworthy, reliable, dependable, true, and unfailing.
If you were God looking for someone to use in a mighty way, wouldn’t you first watch a person’s character and actions to see if he or she was someone on whom you could depend for a big assignment? Even secular employers inspect employees to see who is trustworthy of a big promotion!
The word “found” is the Greek word eurisko, which means to find or to discover. It is a discov- ery made as a result of careful observance. It tells us that God is carefully watching us to see our actions and reactions. He is watching to see how we treat people, how we respond to pressure, and whether or not we have the tenacity to stay on track when distractions try to thwart our obedience. Before He taps us on the shoulder to give us a new assignment, He carefully observes to see how well we have done with the last assignment. Did we do it as He expected? Did we finish it completely, or did we leave parts of the assignment incomplete? Did we do it in a way that glorified the name of Jesus?
God wants to know if we are faithful, trustworthy, reliable, dependable, true, and unfailing. Rather than take a shot in the dark and simply hope for the best, He bases His decision on discovery. That means that God is watching you today. He watches your actions and reactions. He observes how you treat people and how you respond to pressure. He looks to see if you have the tenacity to keep going, even in the face of opposition.
So what has God found about you?
If you were an employer, before you promoted someone into a position of great authority, wouldn’t you watch that person first to see if he or she would be found faithful? Since this is true of humans when they look for someone to oversee short-lived, temporal responsibilities, how much more is this true of God, who entrusts people with matters that impact people’s lives for all eternity? There is nothing more serious than eternal business. That’s why before God promotes someone over greater spiritual matters, He watches to see if they are found faithful.
Once God knows a person can be trusted with more, it isn’t long before a new assignment comes their way. In First Corinthians 4:2, Paul said, “Moreover it is required in stewards that a man be found faithful.” As noted in yesterday’s Sparkling Gem, the word “required” is the Greek word zeteo, which means to seek, to search, or to look very intensively for something. It was a legal term to denote a judicial investigation and could even refer to a scientific investigation. It describes an intense and thorough searching. It could be interpreted, “Moreover, God is making a concentrated, exhaustive, and thorough search in pursuit of stewards who are found faithful.”
This means that the people who possess the necessary qualities that God wants in order to use them are not abundant in the Christian community. Faithful, trustworthy, reliable, dependable, true, and unfailing people are so rare that God must thoroughly and exhaustively search to find them. But once He finds through observation that a particular believer is committed to do His will and to do it with excellence, God has made a valuable discovery. He has found a faithful person He can depend on to lead and carry out a new and important assignment.
Over the years, I’ve worked with thousands of people, and it is very rare to find people who are completely reliable. Most are distracted by other things. They start out with a desire to be faithful, but the affairs of life pull them away. Any pastor could testify of the myriads of people who started projects but didn’t finish them. But when a person is discovered who is faithful, trustworthy, reliable, true, and unfailing in keeping his or her word, it is a rare find — a real gem!
When God looks at you, what does He see? Do all you possibly can do to make it easy for Him to say, “Now, that person is a real treasure whom I can trust with the next big assignment!” Don’t let His answer be, “Not yet!” because you refused to make the necessary changes.
Since God is watching, don’t you agree that it is vital that we take a serious look at ourselves to see what He is finding as He watches what we do, the promises we make, and the seriousness with which we obey Him and His Word? Has God found that He can trust us, or would He be wiser to choose someone else?
So if you want to move into a higher realm of responsibility that holds more exciting and significant assignments in life, do everything you can to be found faithful in what you are doing right now. When God has found you faithful in your present project, you have your best guarantee that a door will soon open for you to step through so you can walk out the dream He placed in your heart.
MY PRAYER FOR TODAY
Father, I admit that I’ve often been slack in the way that I’ve carried out the assignments You have given to me. I haven’t always been diligent in many things You have expected of me, and yet I’ve somehow thought that You would promote me anyway. Now I understand that You are watching and waiting for me to be found faithful. Only then will You be assured that I can be trusted with something bigger than what I am doing right now. Forgive me for my faulty thinking in the past. I ask You to make my thoughts agreeable to Your will, as You create in me both the desire and the ability to do what pleases You. I thank You, Lord, for helping me do Your will Your way. From this moment onward, I will do my best to be faithful at the tasks in my life right now. Even if I don’t relish what I am being asked to do, I will do it with all of my heart until You and I both know that I can be trusted with something bigger and better
I pray this in Jesus’ name!
MY CONFESSION FOR TODAY
I confess that I am committed to doing my present job with joy and excellence. I do not com- plain; I do not drag my feet; and I do not behave lazily or half-heartedly. I am completely committed to doing this job with excellence and in a manner that brings praise to the name of Jesus Christ. When God looks at me, He smiles because He sees me giving 100 percent of everything I am to the task of doing this the best that it can be done. With the help of the Holy Spirit, I am a faithful steward over all that God has entrusted to my care and oversight. Because I am completing my assignment with my whole heart and with the highest level of excellence I’m capable of, God finds me faithful and will promote me to a higher level and a bigger assignment.
I declare this by faith in Jesus’ name!
QUESTIONS FOR YOU TO CONSIDER
- What is the major assignment God has asked you to deal with in your life right now? Maybe it is a work assignment, a relationship assignment, or an assignment to deal with a specific personal issue in your Can you name the most significant assignment God has given you — the one you know He is watching most closely to see how you are doing in completing that assignment?
- If you were to rate your performance on a scale of 1 to 10 (10 being the best and 1 being the worst), how would you rate your present performance with the main assignment that God is watching in your life? Be honest!
- Why did you rate yourself the way you did? What are you doing that causes you to think you rate so low or so high? Now ask the Holy Spirit to give you God’s rating of your present performance!