Are You Faithful in All Things?
“The person faithful in what is least is faithful also in much.”—LUKE 16:10.
AS THE day progresses, have you ever noticed what happens to a shadow that a tree casts on the ground? Why, the shadow keeps changing in size and direction! Human endeavors and promises are often as unsteady as a shadow. Jehovah God, on the other hand, does not change with time. Referring to him as “the Father of the celestial lights,” the disciple James says: “With him there is not a variation of the turning of the shadow [or, “variation or shadow caused by a turning,” footnote].” (James 1:17) Jehovah is constant and dependable, even in the minutest details. He is “a God of faithfulness.”—Deuteronomy 32:4.
2 How does God view the dependability of his worshippers? In the same way as did David, who said of them: “My eyes are upon the faithful ones of the earth, that they may dwell with me. The one walking in a faultless way, he it is who will minister to me.” (Psalm 101:6) Yes, Jehovah takes delight in the faithfulness of his servants. With good reason, the apostle Paul wrote: “What is looked for in stewards is for a man to be found faithful.” (1 Corinthians 4:2) What does being faithful entail? In what areas of life should we act in faithfulness? What are the blessings of “walking in a faultless way”?
What It Means to Be Faithful
3 “Moses as an attendant was faithful,” states Hebrews 3:5. What made the prophet Moses faithful? In the construction and setting up of the tabernacle, “Moses proceeded to do according to all that Jehovah had commanded him. He did just so.” (Exodus 40:16) As worshippers of Jehovah, we show faithfulness by obediently serving him. This certainly includes our remaining loyal to Jehovah while facing difficult tests or severe trials. However, success in dealing with big tests is not the sole factor that determines our faithfulness. “The person faithful in what is least is faithful also in much,” stated Jesus, “and the person unrighteous in what is least is unrighteous also in much.” (Luke 16:10) We must remain faithful even in seemingly small matters.
4 Obedience each day in “what is least” is important for two reasons. First, it reveals how we feel about Jehovah’s sovereignty. Think of the test of loyalty placed before the first human pair, Adam and Eve. It was a requirement that imposed no hardship whatsoever on them. While having access to all sorts of food in the garden of Eden, they were merely to refrain from eating the fruit of just one tree—“the tree of the knowledge of good and bad.” (Genesis 2:16, 17) Their faithfulness in obeying that simple command would have demonstrated that the first human couple were for Jehovah’s rulership. Following Jehovah’s instructions in our day-to-day life shows that we are on the side of Jehovah’s sovereignty.
5 Second, our conduct in “what is least” has a bearing on how we will respond “also in much,” that is, when we face bigger issues in life. In this regard, consider what happened to Daniel and his three faithful Hebrew companions—Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah. They were taken into exile in Babylon in 617 B.C.E. While still young, likely in their teens, these four found themselves in the royal court of King Nebuchadnezzar. There they were “appointed a daily allowance from the delicacies of the king and from his drinking wine, even to nourish them for three years, that at the end of these they might stand before the king.”—Daniel 1:3-5.
6 The provisions of the Babylonian king, however, presented a challenge to the four Hebrew youths. Foods prohibited by the Mosaic Law were likely included in the delicacies of the king. (Deuteronomy 14:3-20) The slaughtered animals may not have been bled properly, and partaking of such meat would have violated God’s Law. (Deuteronomy 12:23-25) The food may also have been offered to idols, as was the custom among Babylonian worshippers before eating a communion meal.
7 Dietary restrictions undoubtedly were not of high concern to the royal household of the Babylonian king. However, Daniel and his friends were determined in their hearts not to pollute themselves by eating food forbidden in God’s Law to Israel. This was an issue that touched on their loyalty and faithfulness to God. So they requested a diet of vegetables and water, and it was granted to them. (Daniel 1:9-14) To some people today, what those four young men did may seem insignificant. However, their obedience to God showed where they stood on the issue of Jehovah’s sovereignty.
8 Proving faithful in what might have seemed less significant prepared Daniel’s three friends to cope with a greater trial. Turn to chapter 3 of the Bible book of Daniel, and read for yourself how the three Hebrews faced the death penalty for refusing to worship the golden image that King Nebuchadnezzar had set up. When brought before the king, they declared their determination with confidence: “If it is to be, our God whom we are serving is able to rescue us. Out of the burning fiery furnace and out of your hand, O king, he will rescue us. But if not, let it become known to you, O king, that your gods are not the ones we are serving, and the image of gold that you have set up we will not worship.” (Daniel 3:17, 18) Did Jehovah rescue them? The guards who threw the young men into the fiery furnace perished, but the three faithful Hebrews stepped out alive—not even scorched by the heat of the furnace! Their well-established pattern of faithfulness helped prepare them to be faithful during that critical test. Does this not illustrate the importance of being faithful in small things?
Faithfulness Regarding “Unrighteous Riches”
9 Before stating the principle that one who is faithful in seemingly small things is also faithful in important matters, Jesus advised his listeners: “Make friends for yourselves by means of the unrighteous riches, so that, when such fail, they may receive you into the everlasting dwelling places.” He followed up with the statement about faithfulness in what is least. Then Jesus said: “Therefore, if you have not proved yourselves faithful in connection with the unrighteous riches, who will entrust you with what is true? . . . No house servant can be a slave to two masters; for, either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will stick to the one and despise the other. You cannot be slaves to God and to riches.”—Luke 16:9-13.
10 According to the context, the original application of Jesus’ words found at Luke 16:10 has to do with the use of “unrighteous riches,” our material resources or possessions. They are called unrighteous because material riches—particularly money—are under the control of sinful humans. Moreover, a desire for acquiring riches can lead to unrighteous acts. We show faithfulness by exercising wisdom in the way we use our material possessions. Rather than using them for selfish purposes, we want to use them in furthering Kingdom interests and in helping those in need. By being faithful in this way, we make friends with Jehovah God and Jesus Christ, the possessors of “the everlasting dwelling places.” They will receive us into these places, granting us eternal life either in heaven or in Paradise on earth.
11 Consider, too, what we extend to people with whom we place Bibles or Bible-based literature when we proclaim the Kingdom message and explain to them that we accept contributions to the worldwide work done by Jehovah’s people. Are we not extending to them an opportunity to make wise use of their material resources? Though the original application of Luke 16:10 concerns the use of material resources, the principle stated there also applies in other areas of life.
Honesty Really Matters
12 The apostle Paul wrote: “We trust we have an honest conscience, as we wish to conduct ourselves honestly in all things.” (Hebrews 13:18) “All things” certainly include all matters that involve the handling of finances. We pay our debts and our taxes promptly and honestly. Why? We do so because of our conscience and primarily out of love for God and in obedience to his instructions. (Romans 13:5, 6) How do we respond when we find something that does not belong to us? We seek to return it to its rightful owner. What a fine witness this results in when we explain what prompted us to return the individual’s possession!
13 Being faithful and honest in all things calls for honesty at our place of employment. Honesty in our work habits draws attention to the kind of God we represent. We do not “steal” time by being lazy. Rather, we work hard, as to Jehovah. (Ephesians 4:28; Colossians 3:23) It is estimated that in one European land, one third of the employees who request a doctor’s letter authorizing sick leave do so fraudulently. True servants of God do not fabricate excuses to avoid going to work. At times, Jehovah’s Witnesses are offered promotions because employers observe their honesty and hard work.—Proverbs 10:4.
Faithfulness in Our Christian Ministry
14 How do we show faithfulness in the ministry that is entrusted to us? “Let us always offer to God a sacrifice of praise,” says the Bible, “that is, the fruit of lips which make public declaration to his name.” (Hebrews 13:15) The foremost way to show faithfulness in the field ministry is to participate in it regularly. Why should we allow a month to pass without witnessing about Jehovah and his purpose? A regular share in the preaching work also helps us to improve our skills and our effectiveness.
15 Another fine way to show faithfulness in the field service is to apply the suggestions found in The Watchtower and Our Kingdom Ministry. When we prepare and use the suggested presentations or others that are realistic, do we not find that our ministry is more productive? When we meet someone who shows interest in the Kingdom message, do we promptly follow up on the interest? And what about home Bible studies that we may start with interested people? Are we dependable and faithful in caring for them? Our proving faithful in the ministry can lead to life for us and for those who listen to us.—1 Timothy 4:15, 16.
Keeping Separate From the World
16 In prayer to God, Jesus said of his followers: “I have given your word to them, but the world has hated them, because they are no part of the world, just as I am no part of the world. I request you, not to take them out of the world, but to watch over them because of the wicked one. They are no part of the world, just as I am no part of the world.” (John 17:14-16) We may be firm and determined to keep separate from the world on large issues, such as neutrality, religious holidays and customs, and immorality. What, though, about smaller things? Could it be that even without realizing it, we may be influenced by the ways of the world? If we are not careful, for instance, how easily our manner of dress can become undignified and inappropriate! Being faithful calls for “modesty and soundness of mind” in the matter of dress and grooming. (1 Timothy 2:9, 10) Yes, “in no way are we giving any cause for stumbling, that our ministry might not be found fault with; but in every way we recommend ourselves as God’s ministers.”—2 Corinthians 6:3, 4.
17 Out of a desire to honor Jehovah, we dress in a dignified way for our congregation meetings. The same is true when we meet in large numbers at our assemblies and conventions. Our dress needs to be practical and presentable. This serves as a witness to others who observe us. Even the angels take note of our activity, as they did of that of Paul and his Christian associates. (1 Corinthians 4:9) In fact, we should always be appropriately attired. To some, faithfulness in the choice of clothing may seem to be a small matter, but in God’s eyes it is important.
Blessings for Faithfulness
18 True Christians are spoken of as “fine stewards of God’s undeserved kindness expressed in various ways.” As such, they are “dependent on the strength that God supplies.” (1 Peter 4:10, 11) Moreover, as stewards, we are entrusted with what does not personally belong to us—expressions of God’s undeserved kindness, including the ministry. In proving ourselves fine stewards, we rely on the strength that God supplies, “the power beyond what is normal.” (2 Corinthians 4:7) What fine training to help us face whatever trials the future may bring!
19 The psalmist sang: “O love Jehovah, all you loyal ones of his. The faithful ones Jehovah is safeguarding.” (Psalm 31:23) Let us be determined to prove ourselves faithful, fully confident that Jehovah is “a Savior of all sorts of men, especially of faithful ones.”—1 Timothy 4:10.
Do You Recall?
• Why should we be “faithful in what is least”?
• How can we prove faithful
in regard to honesty?
in the ministry?
in keeping separate from the world?
1. What is one of the ways that Jehovah is faithful?
2. (a) Why should we examine ourselves to determine whether we are faithful? (b) What questions about faithfulness will we consider?
3. What determines whether we are faithful?
4, 5. What does our faithfulness in “what is least” reveal?
6. What test did Daniel and his three Hebrew companions face in the Babylonian royal court?
7. What did the obedience of Daniel and his three friends show?
8. (a) What critical test of loyalty did the three Hebrews face? (b) What was the outcome of the test, and what does this illustrate?
9. What is the context of Jesus’ words recorded at Luke 16:10?
10. How can we demonstrate faithfulness in our use of “unrighteous riches”?
11. Why should we not hold back from explaining to householders that we accept contributions to the worldwide work done by Jehovah’s Witnesses?
12, 13. In what areas can we demonstrate honesty?
14, 15. What are some ways that we can prove ourselves faithful in the Christian ministry?
16, 17. In what ways can we show that we are separate from the world?
18, 19. What blessings result from faithfulness?
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Faithful in what is least, faithful also in much
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‘Conduct yourselves honestly in all things’
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A fine way to show faithfulness is to prepare well for the field ministry
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Be modest in dress and grooming