What makes someone great at what they do? Talent? Knowledge? Passion? Hard work? All of those things are crucial! However, none of those things is the most important quality someone can have in serving the Lord. That distinction belongs to faithfulness.
Paul writes in I Corinthians 4:2, “Moreover it is required in stewards, that a man be found faithful.” A faithful man is one who is trustworthy and diligent in executing his duties; he’s someone who can be relied on! Faithfulness is not just a good quality to have – it is a necessary quality for those who serve God! Paul writes in the preceding verse, “Let a man so account of us, as of the ministers of Christ, and stewards of the mysteries of God.” As believers, it is our duty to be ministers of Christ and stewards (caretakers) of the things of God; and it is required of us that are faithful.
Think about it; if someone is extraordinarily talented but can’t be counted on to do their job, how helpful are they? I would much rather have someone less talented who I can count on to faithfully fulfill their duty. Whether you are a pastor, staff member, or lay church member, let me challenge you with a few ways you can show faithfulness in your ministry.
- Communicate well
My high school basketball coach taught me a valuable lesson – communicate with those you are serving under. He expected us to let him know if we were running late to practice – even if it was only a few minutes! Faithfulness requires us to be diligent in communicating with our fellow laborers in the ministry. If you are a leader, make it a priority to communicate clearly about your expectations for those serving under you; it’s frustrating and challenging for people to minister under leaders who withhold vital information. Give your people the information and direction they need!
If you are serving under someone, keep your leaders apprised of how things are going. Staff members, don’t try to hide problems because it’s uncomfortable to tell your pastor you made a mistake. Church members, let your leaders know if you are not able to fulfill a job you have responsibility for. Not able to make it to church for your ministry? Communicate as soon as possible! Don’t wait until the morning of (if possible), or worse, fail to show up without saying anything.
2. Be diligent
Proverbs 10:26 says “As vinegar to the teeth, and as smoke to the eyes, so is the sluggard to them that send him.”
I would hate for this verse to apply to me! As a staff member, I don’t want to be an irritation to my pastor because I’m not diligent to fulfill the expectations he’s given me. If I’m given a responsibility and fail to keep it, I can cause more trouble than if my pastor had just done it himself! Of course, we all make mistakes; but being faithful means learning from those mistakes and trying to keep them from happening again.
Sometimes we may find that we are not able to meet the expectations placed on us. If you find yourself in that situation, communicate that to your pastor or ministry leader; better to ask to be relieved of that responsibility than to continue causing frustration and problems by not meeting the expectations!
3. Take ownership
If you take (or are given) a ministry, own it! Take responsibility for it and make it yours. Don’t simply do the bare minimum; develop a passion for it, see it as your job, and do your best to make it the best it can be!
At my church, we are blessed with many faithful members who take ownership of their ministries. I could give many examples, but one man in particular comes to mind. He’s one of our piano players, and he really takes ownership of that ministry! Despite working 70 hours a week at a high-pressure job, he finds time every week to practice; he looks at what we are singing on Sunday and works on it; he comes to services prepared. When I see how faithful he is, I’m challenged to learn from his example in the things I do!
It was said to me once that after three years, no one in your church will care about your talent; it’s your character that will count. That may be a slight exaggeration, but the point remains: talent is great, but it means little if it’s not accompanied by faithfulness!