“He shows mercy from generation to generation to all who fear him.”
–Luke 1:50 (NLT)
For many of us, Christmas is a joyous time spent with family and friends, and that is the way that it should be. But if we are not careful, we can think more about the temporal than the eternal. In our warm living rooms we forget that because of His faithfulness, Christ left everything for us, and He was born in a cold stable. Sadly, the idea of faithfulness is something we don’t generally think about anymore, especially at Christmastime.
I am a health-care chaplain, and it is wonderful when I talk to couples who have been married for 50 or 60 years. These spouses know a great deal about the subject of faithfulness which has been lost to many others. We live in an impersonal world, and values like love, commitment and friendship are foreign to many people.
In contrast, you only have to watch the news to hear about increasing divorce, crime, and infidelity of all kinds. Unfortunately, lack of commitment has grown in popularity within books, movies and music for years. The absolutes that God places in His Word are constantly scoffed at and belittled, and people ask the same question that Pilate did when he stood before Jesus: “What is truth?”
In marked contrast to our fickleness, however, Christ’s faithfulness which freed me from the chains of sin, stands out like a beacon of hope. When Pilate asked the above question, Jesus had already said that He was the way, the truth and the life. He also told us that the only ppath to His Father was through Him.
While no other statement could be more absolute, no other person in history has been more faithful. There are over 300 prophecies about Christ in the Bible, and all of them have been fulfilled to a T. Although men have tried to discredit this book, and others still may take issue with the above statement, no one has been able to disprove it or invalidate the claims of Christ.
In the same way, all of us who honor His name are called by Him to be faithful. But with the pressures that we face, we can only do this by drawing on Christ’s power to live in a way which glorifies Him.
The $64 question that you are probably asking is, “How do we do that?” While I don’t pretend to have all of the answers, here are some things that I believe God has been showing me.
Instead of relying on Christ for the strength to finish a task of any size, I have often seen something small as being only a drudgery. If I am looking for self-gratification, the idea of completing a small task can depress me, and I want something that takes herculean effort to accomplish. When I aproaching a task with this attitude, I am trying to satisfy my fleshly appitite, and instead of making the glorification of God my overall goal. Thinking like this blinds me to the big picture of what is really important, and I don’t look carefully at the small details which make up the whole.
I believe most of us feel the same way, for we are taught to set our sights on the grandiose. We like anything sensational and full of bells and whistles, but Jesus spoke of just the opposite. He said that if we are faithful in little things, we will be given much.
I believe He was saying that a big house is built in small increments. Scripture also warns us not to despise the day of small things.
So when I really examined faithfulness to God in my own life, I began to understand something that I hadn’t before, and now I’d like to pass it on to you. I thought about how all buildings are constructed one block at a time, and I realized that our lives are much like that. Day by day, each of us is building a great monument from the smallest stones, and perhaps we are being told that what we are doing is unimportant. But rather than listen to scoffers, we need to ask Jesus to help us glorify Him with correct attitudes, realizing that faithfulness is a lifestyle composed of small building blocks. Once we realize that our work is for the King of Kings, whatever we do takes on new meaning. No matter whether we are up in front or working behind the scenes, we can take pleasure in doing a job right, and no matter the task, we can do it with integrity.
As I spoke to each marital partner I referred to above, it was apparent that they had taken great care to make sure that the building blocks of devotion and love were in place. But many times, the fruit of these qualities were only seen after they performed a small and perhaps unpleasant task.
So if life seems bleak, God is challenging all of us to put on a new pair of glasses. Just as these marital partners loves each other deeply, God wants all of us to love Him and each other with a great love that brings joy to life. As we experience this joy, God wants us to live in faithfulness to Him, and remember that each moment is a building block in the road to that faithfulness.
Thank you for reading this, and may the Lord give you a wonderful week! We are trying to reach people who are hurting, so if God lays it on your heart, please consider becoming a partner with us. If you would like to make a donation, please visit www.hcmachaplains.org and click on the Donate Now link. You can also send donations by mail to HCMA (Healthcare Chaplains Ministry Association). Our ID number is 560. The address is 101 S Kraemer BLVD, Suite 123A, Placentia, CA 92870. Finally, you’re always welcome to join our Monday night Bible study or Tuesday night prayer meeting. Both are conducted by conference call, and they take place at 5:30 PM Arizona time. Our conference number is 712-775-7031, and our ID is 607518748. We hope to talk with you soon!
If you have questions, comments or prayer requests for Timothy or Stephanie Burdick, please call 507-369-6861.