March 24, 2019
By: Jim Eschenbacher
On Sunday, Ray Chester taught a lesson on faithfulness. Ray is an elder in the church and an author of several books I have read. He is well studied, but does not write as a super intellectual. I was anxious to hear him preach and was not disappointed. It has been my experience that the preaching at Mountain Vista Bible Church is always good. Preaching should challenge the listener; it is not to comfort and console us.
Ray coined a term… “Intentional faithfulness”. I like that phrase because it implies full investment on our part. He talked about one aspect of faithfulness that really resonated with me, being faithful for those who are watching us or will follow after us. I have been compelled by God to consider the well being of the whole world and the future church. In other words, it is not all about me. I press on to reach the goal, yes, but also to show faith to those who are watching me. He talked about grandkids and great grandkids as well. We have an obligation to be faithful for them… not only for God but because God wants us to teach those who come after us.
A friend once said to me, “The Christian life cannot be lived in solitude.” “Love” demands community, at least 2 or more people. I do pretty well with love when there are no people around. Generally, we think of others in terms of those we know. When God says love your neighbor as yourself, we think of contemporaries. Sometimes we think of hurting people in other countries. But, what if we thought also of those not yet born? What legacy do I want to leave them? I want them to say, “Jim was faithful.” For people to know I was faithful to God, I must also be faithful to them. My dad was helpful to whoever needed help. I still know that even though he has been dead for about 45 years. That is his legacy. It matters more than how nice he was to me.
Be faithful for future generations. Living for others is more than just being selfless. Make it intentional. Be intentionally kind, gracious, loving, generous, faithful. Often I hear about a grandpa in one’s past who preached truth. That becomes more powerful when we learn of the hardships he endured.
Be faithful, always, don’t be a fair-weather Christian. Be faithful to others, especially, when it does not benefit you. Anyone would be faithful if there was a reward offered but what if there is no immediate reward? That defines true faithfulness.
Ray also spoke of another issue we deal with, “retirement”. I live in a retirement community. Retirement is a state of being we come to as we age, it is also a mindset. It is the mindset to which I speak. Some retired people think that they are entitled to rest and relaxation. That may be one way of looking at the end of a career, but it ought not to apply to our faithfulness.
Ray told the story of Moses. He fled Egypt possibly to save his life. He ran to the land of Midian where he became a sheepherder. He was no longer visually confronted with the plight of the Israelites; He was tending sheep on the open range. But, God showed up in a burning bush and talked to him. Basically, He said, “Moses, you are not done yet.” Moses had retired from his responsibilities in Egypt. But, God sent him back there with an assignment, ‘Lead my people out of there.” In God’s plan, he was not retired. And he may be saying the same thing to you and me… “You are not yet retired.” You have not reached, and will not reach, an age where you are done being faithful.
I have pondered, of late, that at my current age I am more important than ever to the young people. That is what this sermon was declaring. Don’t quit, be intentional, faithfulness doesn’t just happen by chance.
Joshua 24:14&15… Joshua made up his mind… We, too, must make up our minds.