If there has ever been a topic that could feel like a broken record, it has been the week on faithfulness. So what did we do? Focus on it, as a family, for 2 weeks 🙂 Explaining the concept of faithfulness to children seemed a little like teaching algebra to our pets…so we narrowed it into a simple definition that we could discuss in multiple scenarios: “keeping your promises.”
Some promises are BIG, like the vows my wife and I made to one another when we were married. Breaking that promise is a huge deal that affects a lot of people. But the Word of God says that we should be people of such integrity that we never have to say “I promise” or “I swear.” When we say we are going to do something, we ought to be individuals who don’t need a person looking over our shoulder to ensure we really do. This applies to all those daily things that families have to do to work together well: cleaning up our room, setting the table, turning off all the electronics at a certain time, sitting down to eat together without our cell phones & iPods, putting our clothes away, feeding the dog, and on and on. We are a Team. Being faithful to do our part as that team member blesses everyone. When we are not faithful to do our part, it hurts everyone on the team.
But the fruit of the Spirit is: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness…
Being faithful also reveals the state of our heart. Do I believe in the one(s) to whom I’m being faithful? Am I willing to do my part even when I don’t understand WHY it’s so important? Contempt or whininess unveils that we may be on the border of breaking our word. It reveals a lack of trust, and suggests that I think I know what’s best for me. But a faithful attitude unwraps a heart full of love and trust…that this team is important to me…that although I may not understand why this is such a big deal I’ll do it anyway.
Of course the LORD is the ultimate example of faithfulness. Can you imagine how difficult it would be to submit to the Creator of the Universe if He constantly broke His promises, changed His mind, or frequently said to us, “so sorry…I got angry at you about that thing you did for a while. That’s why I’ve been absent for a couple of years. Let’s see if we can work this out & like each other again.” (!@#$%???!) No, He is consistent in His love for us. He sustains our every breath and so much more. Usually, I am so busy with my own life and fretting about my own deal that I don’t even realize this. He is unspeakably gracious in light of how seldom I acknowledge this.
Parents get a flavor of what it’s like to be in His shoes. Our children are in the process of learning faithfulness, but don’t always do so well. This precipitates many moments of counting to 10, or even stepping outside for some fresh air for a while so no one gets hurt, and so we don’t say something we will regret. But we go back in…they are, after all, our kids. We love them. They are in process, and we keep modeling and nurturing the fact that promises are worth keeping. We don’t leave. Years of practicing this in the family is like tending to, cultivating, fertilizing, watering a field which produces a rich harvest.
Let us not scatter seed and stand off at a distance for several years to see how it does.