by: Robert A. Schuller
father and I are continuing our series of messages on Living
Life at Its Best. And the way you and I can do that
is to allow the Holy Spirit of God to come and fill us with
Christ's spirit of love, joy, peace,
patience, goodness, kindness, faithfulness, gentleness and
self-control. (Galatians 5:22)
I'm going to concentrate on the spirit of
faithfulness. How we all need this gift which is
so incredibly displayed by God. Through the ages God has
been and is so faithful to the world He created. What an
incredible gift that God has given to us. Great is God's
faithfulness year after year. And yet we have a big challenge
understanding the faithfulness of God ... perhaps because
society isn’t often faithful to us. Faithfulness seems
to be a lost virtue.
suggest that we have a hard time with this word "faithfulness"
partly because of our consumerism mentality today. It is
hard to be a consumer without just discarding things, isn't
I was raised with cloth diapers ... but I raised my children
with disposable diapers (it's much easier!). I was raised
with a Brownie camera ... my kids were raised with Kodak
disposable cameras. We can go down the list. I was raised
with writing pens that were replaced with cartridges ...
but today pens are all disposable when the ink runs out
... in the trash it goes ... discarded!
What Has Happened to Faithfulness?
it seems that our consumer mentality has affected all society
today... you get what you want out of a product and then
you just throw it away. What has happened to faithfulness? Sociologists look at our society today
and say that the trend is toward serial polygamy. They say,
"We’re not married to more than one spouse at a time,
just one and then another ... and then another ... serial
polygamy. We get what we want out of other people and then
we simply discard them. They're gone
... out of our life.
the good news about faithfulness is that God
is faithful to us. I can't tell you how grateful
I am that God continues to fill me with His Holy Spirit.
He continues to give to me and bless me in spite of my shortcomings
and my problems. Because of God’s faithfulness to me, I
can live life at its best!
spent many of my summers on my Uncle Henry's farm when I
was a growing teen. Uncle Henry is my father’s oldest brother
by about ten years. And the two of them are exact opposites
in just about every way you can imagine. My uncle still
has dark hair... I don’t remember my father not having
gray hair. My uncle is tall and skinny and he can eat a
horse and doesn’t gain a pound. My father is constantly
worried about gaining a pound. My uncle is shy and bashful.
He talks very little. He is as quiet as can be ... but my
father is the exact opposite. You can’t get him to quiet
down! You can’t get a word in edgewise. His mind is racing
ahead and he has so much to say and he is wonderful and
entertaining. Meanwhile, my uncle is very thoughtful and
meticulous. The two are like the tortoise and the hare.
They don’t look alike ... they don’t think alike. You
would never say they are brothers.
when I spent my summers with my uncle, I saw two completely
different kinds of masculinity and they both had an incredible
affect on me as a human being. I am grateful to have spent
so much time with my uncle. He actually purchased the farm
my father was raised on. There was a large gorge that ran
through this farm. The river had changed course and taken
all the dirt away and then when it changed course, it created
a huge island and there were several acres of soil that
could be planted and harvested, but there was this incredible
crevasse which kept them from doing that.
my grandfather began filling this large gorge by dumping
all of his trash in that big hole, hoping someday it would
be full enough where they could cross it and start growing
crops. Then neighbors started coming over and asked to use
the dump to discard their trash. Whenever they did, we would
run out to the dump and see what treasures were thrown away.
One summer I pulled enough copper out and I cleaned it and
sold it for scrap metal for about fifty cents a pound ...
I made about $300 just pulling out copper. And I did the
same thing with aluminum and other metals. I cleaned and
sold it. Uncle Henry would pick out the electrical appliances,
like toasters, and old lawn mowers taking them all apart,
and saving the electrical motors.
philosophy was this ... he said to me, "Robert, 99
percent of the time, if I save something someone has thrown
away I can take it apart, clean it, put back together again,
and it works! Just like new! They just need a little glue,
a little tape, or wire that was disconnected. I clean it,
put it back together and it works." So we would spend
hours tearing apart these treasures and putting them back
together, plugging them in, and have the joy to see we could
make them work again! Now, that’s the way God treats us.
God does not discard us
does not discard us when we don’t work anymore. God is
faithful. He picks us up ... He cleans us ... and He puts
us back together again, and then God plugs us into His Holy
Spirit and we become the people that He intended us to be.
God is faithful and He does not reject us just because we
are broken. He will create something new and beautiful with
our brokenness. He has made a commitment to all humanity
of His love to us, His people, whom He has created.
so loved the word that he sent His only Son, Jesus Christ,
into the world that whosoever believes in Him would not
perish but have everlasting life. (John 3:16)
Christ, in His life, in His death, and in His resurrection,
was faithful to God, the Father. And as a result of Christ’s
faithfulness, we have the privilege and honor of receiving
the gifts of His Holy Spirit.
fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness,
goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control." (Galatians 5:22)
friend of mine is an attorney, named Bill Bennett. I first
met Bill about ten years ago when he invited my wife and
me to go to dinner with him and his wife and attend a Christmas
show at the Performing Arts Center. When my wife and I were
driving home, I said to her, "Did Mrs. Bennett seem
a little strange to you?" She replied, "Yes, there
is something that isn’t quite right." Sometime later
I talked with Bill and I asked, "How is your wife doing?
Is everything OK with her?" And he confided in me that
she had a neurological disease, similar to an early onset
dementia or Alzheimer’s. The next year, we went to the
Christmas show together again, and we noticed that she was
much more disconnected than the year before. My wife had
to help her to the restroom. The following year Bill’s
wife didn’t come to the show. Throughout this entire period
of many years, Bill cared for his wife. He loved his wife.
He took her on cruises. He did special things and helped
her all the time. He was faithful to his wife until the day she died. He is
a good man.
am thinking of another gentleman, whose name is Jack Brown.
Jack Brown served his two terms as a board member of our
Crystal Cathedral Ministries. He is the owner of a local
food chain, Stater Bros. As many of you know, we had a horrible
strike in many of our food stores here in Southern California
which lasted for many months. When that strike was taking
place, the employees at Stater Bros. got together and had
a vote whether or not to support that strike. The result
was an unanimous decision not to support the strike. Do
you know why? Because Jack Brown is a man who cares for
his employees. He is faithful to them. He started as a bag
boy. He knows what they are doing. He knows their hard work.
Now he owns the company.
the employees voted whether or not to keep the stores open
during the strike. Again, the one hundred percent decision
was to keep the stores open. Well, the stores did exceptionally
well and Jack Brown did something that was unprecedented.
He gave all the union worker employees a bonus. It is unheard
of in corporate America today to give union workers bonuses.
He is faithful to his employees, and as a result, his employees
are faithful to him ... and that resulted in a banner year.
corporate America needs to realize this lesson of faithfulness.
It is not "us" and "them". It is "we."
It is teamwork. It is corporate executives embracing the
employees and saying, "I have faith in you" ...
and trusting their employees to do the same. When this happens,
I believe we will see a major change in corporate America.
consider the faithfulness of God for us ... when we fail
... when we sin ... He simply takes us apart, washes us
to clean us all up, puts us back together and says, "OK,
there, my faithful servant, go and sin no more." God
puts us back together again, for a purpose and for a reason,
and that purpose and that reason is to be faithful. Faithful
to the calling that God has given to us. If it is to be
a minister ... to minister. If it is to be a doctor ...
to doctor. If it is to be a bricklayer, to be the best bricklayer
God has called you to be. If it is to be a housewife, to
care lovingly you’re your husband and your children ...
and the list goes on and on and on.
Jesus Christ is the example of faithfulness for us.
Then the Holy Spirit fills our heart with the faithfulness
we need to be the persons that God has called us to be.
D. Kenneson is a professor of theology and philosophy at
Mulligan College in Tennessee. In his book entitled "Life
on the Vine: Cultivating the Fruit of the Spirit in Christian
Community"  he suggests that we each have a faithfulness
quotient. Here is how it works. Make a lit of people to
whom you are committed, the people and the societies to
which you have made a commitment. If you are a member of
the church, put that down. If you are a member of Rotary,
list that. If you’re a member of the Soroptimist Club,
put that down. If you have friendships that you are committed
to, your spouse, your children, you put those all down.
Then next to your commitment list, make a list of all of
the individuals, persons, and places that you can count
... you can depend on when you need help, when you need
someone to support you, when you go through a tough time.
And then you compare those two lists, side by side. More
times than not, you’re going to discover that the two lists
are about the same length and if you don’t feel like that
list of people you can count on is long enough, you have
to look at the list of people to whom you are committed.
Maybe it is time for you to consider joining the church.
Maybe it is time for you to make a commitment to God and,
in faith, trusting Him and think about tithing. Maybe it
is time for you to start thinking about your commitment
and your faithfulness to your spouse and to your family
and to your friends. Maybe it is time for you to call upon
the Holy Spirit of God to empower you, to cleanse you, to
make you whole. Faithfulness is
one of the beautiful gifts of God that gives us the power
to live life at its best!
Heavenly Father, I thank You that You are a gracious, loving,
good God, that You have empowered and strengthened me. You
have washed and cleansed me. You have repaired me. You have
made me whole. And so I thank You for Your faithfulness,
for Your Son, Jesus Christ, who simplifies this incredible
faithfulness and for Your Holy Spirit who empowers me. So
give me, O Lord, the thankful heart to respond to You and
say "yes" to You. I love You Lord. Amen.