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Thursday, February 1, 2018

Foggy Wisconsin morning (Photo by GM)
Foggy Wisconsin morning
(Photo by my cousin Georgia)

"Famous Or Faithful?"

Message summary: The greatest approbation we will ever receive is when we hear the words from our Lord, "Well done, good and faithful servant" (Matthew 25:21).

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"Now it is required that those who have been given a trust must prove faithful" (1 Corinthians 4:2).

Today we live in a world where so many strive for fame. Some will do outrageous and often dangerous stunts to create a video they hope will become viral and be immensely popular on the internet.

Last year a couple from Minnesota found out these stunts can be truly deadly. Monalisa Perez, 19, and her boyfriend Pedro Ruiz, 22, wanted to be famous on YouTube. She fired a Desert Eagle handgun from close range, as he held an encyclopedia in front of his chest. He had experimented previously and thought the thick book would protect him by stopping the bullet, but the couple's three-year-old child and nearly 30 onlookers watched as she fired a fatal bullet.*

As God's children let us focus not on fame but faithfulness. For many years we have been blessed by this statement we saw many years ago on a church sign: "Better to be faithful than famous". Although there are some famous people who are also faithful, it occurred to me how often those whom so many recognize as "famous" are certainly not faithful. Merely consider famous names in sports, entertainment, and politics. Sadly this is also true for some who are famous in ministry for Christ.

Many of life's lessons are ingrained in our memories that have helped shape our values. I recall a lesson from my childhood.

I was staying with my mom's parents, MaMa and PaPa (as we called our grandparents), in tiny Harwood, Missouri one summer. PaPa was a farmer and the president of the local community bank. He was well known and had a great reputation throughout that rural area.

During my visit he called a local farmer to get permission for me to fish in his farm pond and made it clear to me that the permission was for fishing only. I verbally agreed to that plan, but what do you suppose a bored fourteen-year-old teen does after the fish aren't biting? I looked up toward the farmhouse where I saw no one, so I jumped in the pond and went swimming.

Well, it turned out the farmer who had permitted me to fish but ruled out swimming was watching. He called my grandfather and when I got back did I ever get chewed out! PaPa emphasized that he had trusted me and I had violated that trust. I still remember that lesson to this day. Knowing how much I had disappointed PaPa bothered me a great deal. I'm sure it led to some deep soul searching in my young yet untamed teen heart. As a youngster I wouldn't have thought about the danger of one who is out swimming in a deep pond by himself. Likely that farmer made that rule to protect me from danger. (And certainly in our own day from lawsuits.)

As followers of Christ we've all been given a trust. The apostle Paul wrote, "Now it is required that those who have been given a trust must prove faithful" (1 Corinthians 4:2). We are stewards of God's truth and it is required that we be faithful. This is fundamentally expressed spiritually but in reality spiritual faithfulness is expressed in practical even the mundane ways as well.

Let us ask ourselves: Do we act in an irresponsible way when we think no one is looking? (Like I did in swimming in the farm pond!) Are we faithful to our spouse and family? Are we faithful to our church and ministry responsibilities? What about our work related duties and financial commitments?

Each of us have been given a trust and it is required by God that we prove faithful with that trust. The lies, deceit, and broken promises that characterize unfaithfulness has darkened our society and fragmented the family unit. Countless lives have been crushed due to those who have not been faithful to the trust given them.

Business owners, political figures, spiritual leaders, teachers, parents, on and on the list goes for each of us who are given a trust and we must prove ourselves faithful. We start out by being faithful in the small things whether or not someone is looking over our shoulder. Then we are entrusted with greater responsibility.

The greatest approbation we will ever receive is when we hear the words from our Lord, "Well done, good and faithful servant" (Matthew 25:21).

Oh, may all who come behind us find us faithful,
May the fire of our devotion light their way.
May the footprints that we leave, lead them to believe,
And the lives we live inspire them to obey.
Oh, may all who come behind us find us faithful.

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Thankful manDaily prayer: Father, we have been given a trust and desire to prove ourselves faithful in all areas of our lives as evidenced in our responsibilities carried out here on earth. Being a faithful steward of all that is entrusted to us involves sacrifice, humbleness, repentance, and obedience which does not come easily, but is nevertheless required. As we walk steadily with You and prayerfully apply Scriptural principles we will be found faithful. We look to You in prayer and come to You through Jesus Christ our Lord in whose name we pray. Amen.

Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

"Find us Faithful"  Video  Steve Green

"Finish Well"  Video  Karen Peck and New River

"Still"  Video   Legacy Five

"Still"  Video  Greater Vision  (Same title but different song!)

* Going viral: When YouTube stunts turn deadly

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Scripture references are from The Holy Bible: New International Version. © 1984 by International Bible Society; NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1995 by The Lockman Foundation, New King James Version (NKJV) Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. and the King James Version.

Personal Mission Statement: "I am created by God to bring Him glory. Through God's Son Jesus Christ I have been redeemed and make it my life's goal to please the Lord. My mission in life is to honor God through my faith and obedience and prepare myself and all whom I may influence for eternity."

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