Joyce Meyer simply defines faithfulness or consistency as “doing something right not only once, but doing something right over and over and over and over.” It sounds simple, but how do you do it? What is the key to being consistent, to being faithful?
Before we embark on our devotional study regarding faithfulness today, let us get a broader contemporary view of it from this brief introduction by Danelle Esterhuizen today (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QW6MxK9uE8E).
1 Corinthians 4:1-5
1 This is how one should regard us, as servants of Christ and stewards of the mysteries of God. 2 Moreover, it is required of stewards that they be found faithful. 3 But with me it is a very small thing that I should be judged by you or by any human court. In fact, I do not even judge myself. 4 For I am not aware of anything against myself, but I am not thereby acquitted. It is the Lord who judges me. 5 Therefore do not pronounce judgment before the time, before the Lord comes, who will bring to light the things now hidden in darkness and will disclose the purposes of the heart. Then each one will receive his commendation from God.
Observations and reflection questions
Context: In 1 Corinthians 4:1-5 Paul is defending his apostleship (leadership) over the Corinthian church.
- What are the two key word by which Paul explains his leadership to the Corinthians in verse 1?
- How do you understand the link between apostleship, servitude and stewardship? [verses 1-2] And
- In general, how is this applicable to every sphere of leadership?
- According to Paul, what is the key requirement of leadership (and entrustment of authority for responsibility) then? [verse 2]
- Paul refers to “being judged” in verses 3-5.
- Judgment about what? [hint: verse 3 starts after the last word in verse 2…]
- What is Paul’s attitude towards human opinion or judgment of him [in verse 3]? And considering the context mentioned above, why does Paul need to say this?
- In your own words, what is Paul’s attitude towards judging himself? [verse 3-4]
- Whose opinion or judgment regarding his leadership is Paul focused on? And why? [verses 4-5]
- From this text, who ultimately determines whether one has been faithful with what was entrusted to him/her?
- What (a) attitude and (b) character quality made Paul’s leadership over the Corinthian churches so consistent IN SPITE OF THEIR RESISTANCE AND UNFAITHFULNESS.
Personal reflection and Application questions
In spite of the Corinthian church’s resistance to Paul’s leadership over them, he graciously affirmed and asserted apostleship over them in great humility. He remained confident and consistent in this, because leadership to him was an entrustment and empowerment from God to Whom he will one day answer. And that caused him to be faithful and consistent.
- Consider your present and past experiences of leadership. How did each of the following instances influence your leadership confidence and actions?
- instances of criticism or resistance from people.
- instances of praise from people.
- instances of (perceived) failure under your leadership
- instances of (perceived) great success under your leadership
- How susceptible are you to self-criticism? What can you learn from Paul’s example above?
- In your present and past leadership responsibility and actions, how aware are you of God’s (a) entrustment, (b) empowerment, and (c) estimation / judgment?
Prayerfully consider and thank God for what he has entrusted to you, and pray for grace that your eyes may always be towards Jesus your Master as you serve him, regardless of the comments of the people or the relative success of your actions. Pray that you may hear the words “ Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master.” (Matthew 25:23)
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