Last night I attended a Bible study and church member meeting led by our senior pastor, Vasile Filat. It was nice to see everyone mid-week. As a church, we usually do not have Wednesday night meetings because we do not have a building. Last night we met to plan this weekend’s activities since we are celebrating the Fall Harvest (Thanksgiving). Before we had the planning session we had a short Bible study on what the Bible says about being people who are trustworthy. I would like to share this study because it really spoke to me and I believe that it is a good lesson for all believers. It is good to examine ourselves at all times as believers.
Ministry success depends on trustworthy people (Exodus 18)
Moses was leading the people. He had left his wife and kids at home so that he could sit and judge the problems of some 2 million plus people, case by case. He was trying to do it all by himself. He needed help because the people were suffering and so was Moses. Moses’ father-in-law saw the problem and gives him a Biblical solution. Here is what Jethro says.
17 Moses’ father-in-law said to him, “The thing that you are doing is not good. 18 “You will surely wear out, both yourself and these people who are with you, for the task is too heavy for you; you cannot do it alone. 19 “Now listen to me: I will give you counsel, and God be with you. You be the people’s representative before God, and you bring the disputes to God, 20 then teach them the statutes and the laws, and make known to them the way in which they are to walk and the work they are to do. 21 “Furthermore, you shall select out of all the people able men who fear God, men of truth, those who hate dishonest gain ; and you shall place these over them as leaders of thousands, of hundreds, of fifties and of tens. 22 “Let them judge the people at all times ; and let it be that every major dispute they will bring to you, but every minor dispute they themselves will judge. So it will be easier for you, and they will bear the burden with you. 23 “If you do this thing and God so commands you, then you will be able to endure, and all these people also will go to their place in peace.”
In order for the ministry to prosper, there was a need for men of truth. The original word for “truth” is “eh’-meth” and it means “faithfulness, stability, firmness”. A faithful person is a person who has been taught the ways of God and applies them. He is firm in his decisions. When he is asked to do something, it is as good as done. He does it to the best of his ability as soon as he can. You can entrust a task to this kind of person and then not worry at all because it is as good as done. Also, a trustworthy person understands the importance of working in a team. He is not seeking the glory in everything. He wants to serve for the good of the people and the name of the team instead of his own glory and recognition. Moses was ready to share the burden as well as the glory of the success of the ministry. The trustworthy men were not busy fighting for position and authority. They received it and used it for the good of their leader and the good of the people.
Trustworthy people are to seek out other trustworthy people
1 You therefore, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus. 2 The things which you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses, entrust these to faithful men who will be able to teach others also. (II Timothy 2)
Paul was a trustworthy person. He found Timothy and invested in him. He tells Timothy to seek out other trustworthy people and invest the Gospel in them so that they will in turn, take the Gospel and invest It in others. The word “faithful” here is “pistos” and it comes from the Greek word translated “faith” in English. In this context, a faithful person is one who receives the Word of God as is without adding to or taking away from. Then, he takes that same Word and invests It, as is, in others without changing anything. Many people are not faithful because they pick and choose what they like in the Word and ignore the rest. Or, when they pass on the Word to others, they add to It according to their own doctrines instead of transmitting It in Its pure form. A faithful person is genuine at all times. He does what he says and says what he does. He does not have different masks that he puts on for different occasions. He does not tell people what they want to hear but instead he shares the truth as is. (in love and humbleness of course)
Trustworthy people stand out from the rest
This is not so that they can receive the honor and glory. They stand out because they have a relationship with God, immediately doing what He tells them to do at the highest level of quality possible. God calls Moses a trustworthy or faithful person (Numbers 12:1-9).
6 He said, “Hear now My words : If there is a prophet among you, I, the LORD, shall make Myself known to him in a vision. I shall speak with him in a dream. 7 “Not so, with My servant Moses, He is faithful in all My household ; 8 With him I speak mouth to mouth, Even openly, and not in dark sayings, And he beholds the form of the LORD.
Moses was the most faithful person of all in the camp of the children of Israel. Whenever God told Moses to do something, Moses did it immediately, to highest level of quality possible. Trustworthy people receive instructions, carry them out immediately, and do it well, to the best of their ability. When you are given a task to do, especially in the church or ministry, do you receive those instructions and carry them out immediately, working at the highest level of quality possible? Many times, people in the corporate world act more trustworthy than Christians in the church. Sometimes, some people view the church as a hobby, as a club, serving when they can or feel like it and doing sub par quality while at a secular job working to the highest level possible. One is just for money while the other has eternal value so which one should be done at the highest level of quality possible?
With trustworthy people, “yes” means “yes” and “no” means “no”
15 In this confidence I intended at first to come to you, so that you might twice receive a blessing ; 16 that is, to pass your way into Macedonia, and again from Macedonia to come to you, and by you to be helped on my journey to Judea. 17 Therefore, I was not vacillating when I intended to do this, was I? Or what I purpose, do I purpose according to the flesh, so that with me there will be yes, yes and no, no at the same time? 18 But as God is faithful, our word to you is not yes and no. (II Corinthians 1)
Paul made a promise to visit the Corinthian church. He intended to visit but something happened while on the road and he did not make it to them when he said he would. In order to resolve the conflict that he foresaw, he wrote to them to let them know why he had not yet visited. There were already some who were saying that Paul was not a man of his word. Paul has to explain that trustworthy people are “yes, yes” and “no, no”. This means that when you say yes that you will do something then you do it. You do not say yes and then not do it. Also, you do not say no and then do it. You are a person of your word. If you promise and cannot carry it out, then you do what you can to inform the people you promised why you cannot do it. Also, as a trustworthy person, you need to make sure that you do not overbook, or over extend yourself. Do not make promises that you know you cannot keep. If you cannot keep a promise, do you avoid those to whom you made the promise so that you do not have to face the consequences? Or, do you do whatever you have to do to keep that promise, even if it means asking for an extension of time so that eventually you keep your promises? Trustworthy people keep their word at all times.
Unfortunately, not all “church-goers” are trustworthy people
19 But I hope in the Lord Jesus to send Timothy to you shortly, so that I also may be encouraged when I learn of your condition . 20 For I have no one else of kindred spirit who will genuinely be concerned for your welfare. 21 For they all seek after their own interests, not those of Christ Jesus. 22 But you know of his proven worth, that he served with me in the furtherance of the gospel like a child serving his father. 23 Therefore I hope to send him immediately, as soon as I see how things go with me; 24 and I trust in the Lord that I myself also will be coming shortly. (Philippians 2)
Timothy was a trustworthy person. Paul compares Timothy to the majority of the people who “attended” church during that period. Not everyone who goes to church “seeks after the interests of Christ” like Timothy and Paul did. Trustworthy people seek after Christ’s interests and not their own and that is what makes them trustworthy. They will stand out from the rest of the people around them, even in the church, not because they are better but because they have dedicated themselves fully to serve God and obey Him. Do you go to church? Do you seek Christ’s interests or your own? Do you seek to be trustworthy at all times like Timothy and Paul or just when it is convenient?
Trustworthy people are not stopped by obstacles
25 But I thought it necessary to send to you Epaphroditus, my brother and fellow worker and fellow soldier, who is also your messenger and minister to my need ; 26 because he was longing for you all and was distressed because you had heard that he was sick. 27 For indeed he was sick to the point of death, but God had mercy on him, and not on him only but also on me, so that I would not have sorrow upon sorrow. 28 Therefore I have sent him all the more eagerly so that when you see him again you may rejoice and I may be less concerned about you. 29 Receive him then in the Lord with all joy, and hold men like him in high regard ; 30 because he came close to death for the work of Christ, risking his life to complete what was deficient in your service to me. (Philippians 2)
Many times, people are entrusted with a task in the ministry and they intend on completing the task yet when the first obstacle appears, they give up and have a good excuse for not accomplishing their task. They do not call or announce that they cannot accomplish the task and when asked, they have a great excuse because of the unforeseen obstacle. Epaphroditus was not like that. He was given a task and he carried it out, even though it almost cost him his life. What better excuse could a person have? That did not stop him at all. What about you, how do you deal with obstacles when you are given a task to accomplish?
So, according to this study, are you a trustworthy person or an untrustworthy person? God wants us to examine ourselves daily to see if we are in the faith (not doubting our salvation but evaluating the way that we live, daily). The good news is that, as long as your heart beats you have a chance to change. God is always waiting to forgive us, receive us, and set us back on the right path. May the Lord help us be trustworthy people.