He’s not just looking at the mega-stars and those in the spotlight, He’s looking at ordinary men and women who stay faithful and true.
Sometimes it’s harder to be faithful in the little things.
There are those believers who day-in and day-out go about doing their Christian duty.
“The faithful housewife or the good father who provides for his family.”
These were the first people that came to mind for Christian commentator and apologist Bill Muehlenberg in his response to the question of what defines faithfulness.
Neither was Bill discounting the faithfulness of mega-church preachers. As his CultureWatch readers will attest, these high profile Gospel promoters are never too far from Bill’s radar because of their recognition and prominence.
But more importantly it was the faithfulness of those not known for their faithfulness and the faithful who are never likely to have their day of fame that were drawn to Bill’s attention.
Here I’m talking about the ordinary Christian – just run-of-the-mill Christians who daily are faithful in what God has called them to do.
“They could be working in a church, maybe a janitor or a car park attendant. All of these things are important.”
“As Jesus said it’s required of a steward that he be found faithful and we’re all stewards of God’s time and talents, so we’re all required to be faithful, even in the little things,” Bill said.
Integrity – when no one is looking
What about appearances? How by looking at our faces we can appear to be faithful when that may not be the case.
Bill Muehlenberg said faithfulness can be related to integrity.
Integrity is often defined by what you do when nobody is looking. We can make this very practical and something everybody can relate to if you’re in the workplace.
For example, Bill described an office job where everyone around you might observe you using the company internet for personal use. Why not if everybody else does?
“They’re pinching office supplies, they maybe cheating on their taxes, they’re short-changing their boss.”
No one notices? God does!
“But you as a Christian who knows that we’re to be good Christians in all areas, you’re not pinching office supplies, you’re not cheating on your taxes, you’re declaring everything.”
You’re not spending all your time on your phone or on the internet while you’re supposed to be working. So this is very practical in being faithful in the little things.
“Maybe no one notices it but God certainly does,” Bill said, saying that day of reckoning comes on the day we stand before the Lord.
“And He says, ‘Well done good and faithful servant.”
“He’s not just looking at the mega-stars and those in the spotlight, he’s looking at ordinary men and women who stay faithful and true, even when it’s so easy and there’s so much temptation not to be.”
We all need encouragement
What Bill is eluding to is the real essence of who we are as Christians. In the corporate sense we’re all a part of the Body of Christ.
The question is, how faithful are we in doing our little bit. No matter how big or small that bit is, Bill recognised one thing we need.
“We all need encouragement. Certainly pastors and ministers can be receiving praise because of their higher level of exposure, but with that can come a higher degree of criticism.”
But the ordinary pew member, pew sitting member of the church who doesn’t seem to get any recognition, they maybe house bound or becoming invalids.
“It might be said they can’t do anything for Christ, but perhaps they spend six to eight hours a day in prayer, warfare, and spiritual intercession.”
Upholding missionaries and pastors
“Upholding the pastor, upholding the missionaries, and then we think of all the kinds of things people do to help out,” Bill noted, harking back to days before the internet, Skype and smartphones.
“I knew of old Godly men and women who would write lengthy aerograms.”
That’s going way back. You’d post the aerogram and a week later it would get to somebody on the mission field.
“They saw that as part of their ministry just to encourage workers overseas. Or to put together little care packages. Maybe do a bake sale, have a car wash, raise money for missionaries.”
“These are just some of millions of little ways Christians can do little things to be faithful.”
It’s those little things
“The big things wouldn’t get done if it wasn’t for the little things.”
“I think we all need to encourage one another and say, ‘Hey, just because you’re not in the spotlight doesn’t mean to say what you’re doing is not vitally important.”
In other words, keep your eye out for those less prestigious jobs we can do.
If you want to be an influence in the organisation you’re involved in, get on the committee, get on the board however that works, and take on the ‘dirty jobs.
Without what appear to be the ‘insignificant jobs’ the big jobs won’t get done. And again Bill stressed these so-called ‘dirty jobs’ are many.
“Often they’re just housewives,” Bill observed, before flipping the connotation of a housewife’s job on its head.
Doing great things in social media
“It’s probably one of the most important jobs there are. To raise the children, look after the household, to keep the family fed and looked after.”
Bill spoke of one person who came to mind – a woman in this position who has some personal health issues, but that’s not all.
“On top of that she has a special needs child and her husband is sadly not a Christian just as yet,” Bill shared.
We meantime can be cheerful and praising the Lord and doing great things in social media and I’m thinking of people like that.
“Ordinary mums or wives who are doing it tough and going through all kinds of suffering and hardship and yet are a radiant testimony for Christ.”
Faithful in the little things
They’re faithful in the little things. They get up every morning. They may be sick, it might be cold and dark.
“They don’t really want to get up and deal with another day but they do, because they love their kids, they love their husband, and they love their Lord.”
“It’s this faithfulness in the little things that God commands.”
Again Bill emphasised that if God sees us being faithful in the little things He knows we can then be faithful in the big things.
“We need to encourage one another. Often it’s the little people who often don’t get the praise and recognition. Sometimes they’re the most faithful of all.”
If you would like to listen to the full audio interview click play below
For Bill Muehlenberg’s article on this subject, click on this website:
‘We live in an age where we see evidence of cultural decline, the erosion of values, the decline of civility, the denial of truth and the elevation of unreason. Many people are asking, “Where is our culture heading?” This website is devoted to exploring the major cultural, social and political issues of the day. It offers reflection and commentary drawing upon the wealth of wisdom found in the Judeo-Christian tradition. It offers reflective and incisive commentary on a wide range of issues, helping to sort through the maze of competing opinions, worldviews, ideologies and value systems. It will discuss critically and soberly where our culture is heading. Happy reading!’
Bill Muehlenberg is an American-born apologist and ethicist in Melbourne, Australia. He has a BA with honours in philosophy (Wheaton College, Chicago), an MA with highest honours in theology (Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, Boston). He has his own ministry called CultureWatch, which features Christian commentary on the issues of the day:billmuehlenberg.com. He is a prolific author, and a much sought after media commentator, and has been featured on most television and radio current affairs programs. Bill teaches ethics, apologetics and theology at several Melbourne Bible Colleges. He is the author of Strained Relations: The Challenge of Homosexuality, Dangerous Relations: The Threat of Homosexuality,and The Challenge of Abortion. ( go to: http://store.vision.org.au/) Bill is married, with three sons.
CultureWatch – Bill Muehlenberg’s commentary on issues of the day.