"The master said, "Well done, my good and faithful servant. You have been faithful in handling this small amount, so now I will give you many more responsibilities. Let's celebrate together!' -- Matthew 25: 23 (NLT)
The Bible says that the Word of God is like a lamp unto our feet for a reason. Because true faith need only to see the next step God has for us. True faith does not get enamored with the final product. True faith knows that God is working all things out for our good. Step by step we will build the wall that God has outlined for us. We will see the fruits of our labor if we do not falter in faith. God is seeking believers who will show their faith when the world demands answers. God is seeking believers who respond to trial with faithfulness and not doubt. Sometimes we find ourselves waiting on God when He is actually waiting on us. He is waiting for us to show some measure of faith with what He has already entrusted with us before we can expect an expansion of our territory.
We can see some of the principles of faithfulness playing out in the life of the Apostle Paul. Originally, Paul was Saul of Tarsus -- a Pharisee of the Pharisees. Saul would preside over the deaths of Christians, including the stoning of the first martyr Stephen. He was a heavy hand persecuting the church right as it was starting. Jesus would soon knock Saul off of his high horse however and his life would never be the same. Saul found himself blinded while God instructed a believer named Ananias to take care of him. Ananias initially balks at this idea because he has heard of how terrible Saul has been towards Christians. Here is the response from God:
But the Lord said, "Go, for Saul is my chosen instrument to take my message to the Gentiles and to kings, as well as to the people of Israel. And I will show him how much he must suffer for my name's sake." -- Acts 9: 15-16 (NLT)
The first principle we see is that faithfulness always rooted in the master plan of God. There are always things that God has set aside for us to do for His kingdom. Sometimes when it comes to faithfulness we start to think God has forgotten us or maybe passed us by. We see others getting promoted and advancing and wonder what it is that we have done wrong. Paul would go on to teach years later:
For we are God's masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago. -- Ephesians 2: 10 (NLT)
Long ago God has set out for us the good things He would have us do. It doesn't matter what our past was only what our future holds. Saul killed Christians but Paul would start Christianity. That is how God operates. Saul would use the Old Testament to persecute Christians but God had set out for him to write three-quarters of the New Testament! God was going to show Paul how much he was going to suffer for the name that He persecuted. Decades later, Paul would summarize the suffering:
Are they servants of Christ? I know I sound like a madman, but I have served him far more! I have worked harder, been put in prison more often, been whipped times without number, and faced death again and again. Five different times the Jewish leaders gave me thirty-nine lashes. Three times I was beaten with rods. Once I was stoned. Three times I was shipwrecked. Once I spent a whole night and a day adrift at sea. I have traveled on many long journeys. I have faced danger from rivers and from robbers. I have faced danger from my own people, the Jews, as well as from the Gentiles. I have faced danger in the cities, in the deserts, and on the seas. And I have faced danger from men who claim to be believers but are not. I have worked hard and long, enduring many sleepless nights. I have been hungry and thirsty and have often gone without food. I have shivered in the cold, without enough clothing to keep me warm. -- 2Corinthians 11: 23-27 (NLT)