Many of Jesus’ statements frustrate me.
If you want to save your life, you have to lose it (Matt 16:25).
Do not worry about your life (Matt 6:25).
Deny yourself (Mk 8:34).
There’s another one that’s recently inched its way up my list of “Top 10 Statements by Jesus that I Don’t Like Most Days.”
It’s this one: “One who is faithful in a very little is also faithful in much, and one who is dishonest in a very little is also dishonest in much” (Lk 16:10). In Luke’s gospel, Jesus applies this principle to money. The one who is faithful with worldly wealth is the one to whom God can trust with heavenly riches.
Yet, this reality is not just true of money—it’s true of every aspect of life. God blesses and watches. He waits. He sees how we handle the little things with which we’ve been entrusted. Are we faithful to bear the burdens of one person in crisis? Do we work hard when given a small responsibility in the church? Do we give of our resources to bless a neighbor in need? Do we love and lead our families when no one is watching?
It seems that the answers to these questions indicate the way we will handle increased blessing (and responsibility from God). If we are not faithful to care for one person, why would we be faithful to care for a growing church? If we do not work hard on a minor project, why would God give us an increased platform? God knows that we won’t become faithful when we arrive.
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In fact, we will most often do the exact opposite. If we’re sloppy with small gifts from God, then we will make a big mess out of bigger blessings. We’ll squander God’s gifts. We’ll get prideful. We’ll hurt more and more people.
But, here’s the problem: I don’t like little. I long for more—now. It seems that in the economy of the kingdom of God, God is far more patient with entrusting us with blessing while we are more interested in trying to manipulate more blessing for ourselves. My propensity is to want to plow right through this painstaking process. I want more and I want it now.
And, sadly, many of us know how to create the illusion of “more” in our lives. We can stretch and claw for a platform. We can grow a church. We can take on more responsibility.
Yet if we skirt God’s path, we’ve merely fooled ourselves, and others, into thinking that we’ve been entrusted with the blessing of God. Perhaps we can fool them for a while. It seems that we’ve got our act together. We can handle it, or so we think.
But, our character has not been forged in the fires of obscurity. We haven’t learned to prepare and preach a God-honoring sermon to a dozen apathetic teenagers. We haven’t had to give a meagre tithe when it’s all we have. We haven’t had to write an article that two people will read. We haven’t sat in the living room and wept with a couple on the brink of divorce.
I’d rather preach to a packed conference, lead my church to give thousands to missions, have a post I write go viral, or farm out the pastoral care work to others, so I can have more time to study.
I’m not arguing that the longing for more is bad, or that it is always indicative of a prideful heart. I am arguing that the path we take to get to more often is often paved with pride. It seems that more only comes as a gift from God. There is no other way to get there. And, as much as I don’t like it, this blessing comes in God’s time and in God’s ways. I don’t know what more will look like, and I don’t know when more will come.
I do know why it will come. It will come because God has given me a little and, by his power, I’ve been faithful with that gift. Then, when he’s ready, he’ll give me more. There is no other way.