Now it is required that those who have been given a trust must prove faithful. –I Corinthians 4:2 (NIV)
“Resolution. Resolve to perform what you ought; perform without fail what you resolve.” –Benjamin Franklin
Former U.S. Senator Mark Hatfield of Oregon tells about touring Calcutta, India with Mother Teresa. They visited the “Home for the Dying” where the sick were cared for in their last days, and the dispensary where desperate throngs lined up to receive medical attention. Watching Mother Teresa calmly minister to these people despite the crushing needs all around them, Hatfield was overwhelmed by the magnitude of the suffering she and her co-workers continually faced. “How can you bear the load without being crushed beneath it?” he asked. Mother Teresa replied, “My dear Senator, I am not called to be successful, I am called to be faithful.”
The Bible tells us, “those who have been given a trust must prove faithful.” A trust is another word for “responsibility.” It’s easy to imagine ourselves doing something grand and headline-grabbing, but if we’re not in the habit of being faithful in small, mundane matters, we probably won’t have the backbone to be loyal when the need is huge and the pressure is intense.
Jesus said, “If you are faithful in little things, you will be faithful in large ones. But if you are dishonest in little things, you won’t be honest with greater responsibilities. And if you are untrustworthy about worldly wealth, who will trust you with the true riches of heaven? And if you are not faithful with other people’s things, why should you be trusted with things of your own?” (Luke 16:10-12)
To fulfill one’s role well, fidelity is required of a spouse, parent, employee, supervisor, friend, church member, etc. And before we can be true to someone else, we have to be able to keep our promises to ourselves.
Motivational speaker Zig Ziglar told the story of going to his gym in early January and being shocked by the crowds. When he asked about it, his trainer replied: “Don’t worry about them. They’re the ‘resoluters.’ They get all fired up about their New Year’s Resolutions, but just give them a week or two and they’ll all quit and go back to normal.”
The word for you today is: first keep your promises to yourself; then keep your promises to others.
This is Part 4 of a 13-Part series, based on 13 virtues that Benjamin Franklin sought to incorporate into his daily life, each of which has a scriptural basis. Franklin realized that, since each year has 52 weeks, one can repeat this series four times annually. A chart like the one Franklin designed to help one mark one’s progress can be found here.