None of us start out in leadership with the intention of failing. But we all know people who have disgraced the Lord and hurt the people they lead through unfaithfulness.
We all want, when we come to the end of our race, to be able to say, “I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith” (2 Timothy 4:7).
But to be able to truthfully say these words we must remain faithful in the following three areas:
Faithful to Remain Yielded
Have you ever tried to push something in your own strength? Me too. It’s tiring and is wasted effort.
What God originates, He orchestrates. We simply need to remain tender to His direction and yielded to His leading.
Faithful is he that calleth you, who also will do it.—1 Thessalonians 5:24
Faithful to Sustain Momentum
Every ministry is easy to start. Or, if not easy, at least it’s exciting.
It’s the continuing that takes faithfulness. It’s following up on new converts. Pressing on through disappointments. Laboring in prayer. Being diligent in soulwinning.
In short, it’s continuing to be faithful in the basic areas of ministry—day after day, year after year, person after person.
And when they had preached the gospel to that city, and had taught many, they returned again to Lystra, and to Iconium, and Antioch, Confirming the souls of the disciples, and exhorting them to continue in the faith, and that we must through much tribulation enter into the kingdom of God.—Acts 14:21–22
Faithful to Persevere through Trials
Whether it’s your own trial or a trial in the lives of those you lead, difficult times test our faithfulness. But they also purify our faith.
Wherein ye greatly rejoice, though now for a season, if need be, ye are in heaviness through manifold temptations: That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ:—1 Peter 1:6–7
Pastors and church planters have an added burden—the spiritual care of those they shepherd. I don’t know how to describe this to anyone who hasn’t experienced it, and I don’t think Paul did either. After listing several areas of physical persecution and suffering he had endured, he followed with another category all its own:
Beside those things that are without, that which cometh upon me daily, the care of all the churches.—2 Corinthians 11:28
I’m thankful that Paul persevered through both personal trials and ministry trials. I’m thankful he was faithful to “spend and be spent” for those he shepherded even when that statement ended “though the more abundantly I love you, the less I be loved” (2 Corinthians 12:15).
In which area are you most tempted to slack in your faithfulness—to quit pressing forward with consistency?
Faithfulness counts! For when we stand before the Lord, if we are to hear His words of commendation, they will include, “Well done, thou good and faithful servant” (Matthew 25:23).