It’s that time of year again. You know, the time when we try to assess our lives by reflecting on the past and looking toward the future. The New Year serves as a good opportunity for us to be thankful and thoughtful; expressing gratitude for God’s good care of us and humbly charting a course for the future.
With an eye to a “fresh” year, some of us will be setting some new goals which can certainly be a good thing. But, (maybe because I’m 40 now) I would like to offer an old word for a new year. To a world that values change, updates, and the next big thing, this word may be a little off-putting, but for the follower of Jesus, it is not only desirable, but essential. The word I’m thinking of is: faithful. Whatever else God may call us to in this new year, He is unquestionably calling us to greater faithfulness.
In Proverbs 28:20 Solomon wrote, “A faithful man will abound with blessings, but whoever hastens to be rich will not go unpunished.” The way of wisdom and the path of abundant blessing is faithfulness.
By showing us a contrast between a faithful man and someone who eagerly desires to be rich, Solomon reminds us of something Jesus taught in the Sermon on the Mount, namely, that one cannot serve both God and money (Matt 6:24). Faithfulness will always be challenged by the empty promises of false idols. Whatever those idols may be (money, sex, power, success, acceptance, etc.) they never deliver on their promises and actually lead to God’s judgement.
The 17th century pastor, Charles Bridges, commenting on Prov. 28:20 wrote, “The faithful man...has only one principle--’unto the Lord’; under his eye; in his presence; ‘to his glory.’...He would rather be poor by Providence, than rich by sin. This is the man of faithfulness.” And according to the Bible, this is the blessed man. Whether the world has eyes to see it or not, the faithful man is blessed of God.
Whatever goals we may set for the new year, let’s prayerfully and joyfully seek to be faithful. Faithful sons and daughters of the faithful God; faithful followers of the faithful Christ. Faithful in our homes; faithful to our church; faithful in our callings; faithful to the Word of God and prayer.
Faithful--an old word for a new year.
“So then, brothers, stand firm...the Lord is faithful. He will establish you and guard you against the evil one.”---2 Thessalonians 2:15(a) and 3:3
Chuck Cook is the pastor of Grace Bible Church - Rolla.