|Faithfulness Precedes Usefulness.
By Greg Sanders
1 Timothy 1:12 And I thank Christ Jesus our Lord who has enabled me, because He counted me faithful, putting me into the ministry,
Notice that Paul said that “He counted me faithful.” Faithfulness is measurable. Now faithfulness can be defined in different ways. If you say someone misses one Sunday a year from church; most consider that faithful. If you say someone messes around on their girlfriend one time, you say they are unfaithful. The definition is often up for debate. However, no matter how you define it, most agree faithfulness is measurable.
When Paul says that Jesus “Counted me faithful,” he was saying that Jesus counted him faithful when He was really not faithful at all. Paul had been persecuting the church and consenting to the murder of Stephen. That activity is not what most would call faithful. However, Paul says that God credited Him with some faithfulness that He did not deserve.
The reality is that God has credited to your account some credit of faithfulness that you did not deserve as well. Why would God give you a credit of faithfulness? If you look at this scripture as a process of God’s working in Paul’s life, then you can see an order that demands faithfulness. God first enables Paul. Second, God then counts him as faithful and then third, he puts him into the ministry. Why is it important for Paul to be counted faithful? Faithfulness precedes usefulness.
You are useless to anything you are not faithful too. Can you imagine going for a job interview and telling them that you will only show up for your job 60% of the time that they need you? Can you imagine getting married and your soon to be spouse tells you that I will be faithful to you most of the time? This partial commitment to faithfulness will render the person useless in both cases. In these scenarios it is easy for us to see that our faithfulness is going to be directly tied to our usefulness. The same is true for us and the Kingdom of God.
Paul knew he had to live up to the credited faithfulness that Jesus placed upon Him. Paul’s response was “since He considered me faithful, I have to live up to being faithful to what He has put in my hands.” As New Testament believers we must live up to the title His grace puts upon us. Grace is not just a covering for our past, but it also places a demand on our present. Titus 2:2 reminds us that “The grace of God teaches us to say no.” Grace is not your excuse to continue down the wrong path. Grace is your opportunity for a new path.
Today’s Challenge: Maximize your usefulness by maximizing your faithfulness to to the Kingdom of God