Finishing Faithfully 1.0: Four Essential Steps to Living Faithfully
Four Essential Steps to Living Faithfully
Finishing Faithfully 1.0
Twenty-five years ago, our family had the opportunity to help with the launching of a Christian school in our city. Like most of the families involved, we had little personal experience in such a start-up endeavor. However, the more we learned about the advantages of a solid Christian education, the more the group became passionate to study best practices, raise needed funds, design an efficient facility, hire great people, and find the best curriculum.
With so much on everyone’s plate in the the two years leading up to the opening of the school, I rarely made time to take stock of what was happening in my own spiritual life. A pivotal moment for me came during the dedication of the school, when a choir sang, “May all who come behind us find us faithful.”
That song gave word to a passion stirring deep within me. Along with other parents, I had been fervently praying that those who led the school would always be faithful to teach Biblical principles and be guided by the love of Christ. But during the dedication service, I suddenly knew in a deeper way than before that I wanted to be personally faithful to the end of my days. Not just faithful by reputation, but faithful to our Heavenly Father at my core.
The difficulty was…I did not even know what that kind of faithfulness looked like. I had always found my identity in what I achieved, not in who I was on the inside. So this was somewhat of a new exploration for me…this concept of focusing more on developing character than on earning applause. The following are four essential truths I found as I pursued faithfulness:
1. Human nature may want to prove its faithfulness by accomplishing something great, but great achievements usually come after years of healthy choices and hard work.
The deep character we really long for is forged in the ordinary times of simply doing with excellence the everyday tasks in front of us that need to be done.
2. While our human natures may desire greatness, we often illogically tend to procrastinate.
I, for one, rarely finish well when I put important things off and plan to work frantically near the end of a project. Athletes tell us that finishing well is all about following a well-planned daily workout and dietary schedule. Though some may be able to sprint at the end of a marathon, no one counts on a grand burst of energy to get them across a finish line. Daily discipline is key.
3. Seeing ourselves as managers instead of owners builds character.
Every good thing that comes our way is essentially a gift from the hand of our loving Creator. He may have given us talent in art, finance, horticulture, communication, or a combination of many other things. It can be tempting to take our gifts for granted and to think others have more desirable gifts. But I find it’s easier to be faithful when I see myself as a steward of a heavenly trust and realize my efforts fit in with something in God’s divine plan for this generation.
4. It is essential to pour oneself into others.
Every one of us has someone around us who has greater needs than we do. Many days I’m afraid my antenna is not even up to notice where a helpful hand and or kind word might bring sweet relief. However, I’ve tasted the fulfillment that comes from serving others, and I want more of that. Besides, tomorrow I might be the needy person looking for a kind word or hand up.
Doing ordinary things with excellence, practicing daily disciplines, seeing myself as a steward, serving others…those are a few of the things I’m learning to strive for as I think about finishing faithfully. I believe it is a life-long adventure, and there is always a more to learn and share.