One of the most important qualities spoken about in the Bible is faithfulness. Proverbs 20:6 says, ‘Most men will proclaim each his own goodness, but who can find a faithful man?’
God has called us to be faithful in small things, which shows they’re esteemed and remembered by Him. We’re evaluated and rewarded in eternity based on the small things we do in this age. Knowing this does something powerful in our hearts. It gives us strength and conﬁdence to be faithful, while imparting a sense of signiﬁcance in us.
We tend to devalue faithfulness in the small things while giving our time and effort to pursue what looks and feels impressive. However, the Word of God is clear that our eternal impact is tied to our faithfulness in small things.
While not everyone will have a big international platform like Billy Graham and Reinhard Bonnke, all of us are called to be faithful. To some, faithfulness in the small means being irrelevant and insignificant. Nothing can be further from the truth. God promises that if we’re faithful in the mundane everyday scenarios with little public fanfare, He will esteem and remember them forever.
When I was younger, I thought that being significant meant a huge international public platform or ministry. Since then, the Lord has been reworking my idea of what significance looks like to Him. We must resist self-promotion as we can make a lasting impact in God’s Kingdom by being faithful in the little things.
Our misconception of importance produces so much self-promotion that we often have difficulty detecting it in our own lives. Everyone wants to lead and be in charge. They may applaud on the surface if someone else becomes the top dog but, if the leader were to drop out, they’ll maneuvre themselves to be first in line for the job.
In Matthew 19, only a few verses after talking with the rich young ruler, Peter was quick to distinguish himself from him. “See, we have left all and followed You,” he said to Jesus. “Therefore what shall we have?” Even in declaring his zeal to leave everything behind to follow Jesus, Peter was jockeying to get something out of it. “But many who are first will be last, and the last first.” Jesus said.
I imagined the disciples being like us in church, listening intently to the preacher, scribbling diligently until we unexpectedly hear something out of our theological grid of understanding. “What? What did He say? The ﬁrst will be last and the last, first? What is He talking about? Did we hear it wrongly or did He make a mistake?!”
The disciples heard correctly. Jesus turned the pathway to leadership completely upside down with that statement. For a long time, people had gone in the opposite direction, and for a long time after, we’ll continue to do so. We’ll grab at the authority we thought was owed us. We’ll do anything to put ourselves in places of prominence and leadership rather than be faithful with the little we’ve been entrusted with.
Jesus repeated again in Matthew 20:16, “So the last will be first, and the first last. For many are called, but few chosen.” Jesus knew that the temptation to self-promote is strong. Many of us will live as the first in this age and find ourselves in last position in the age to come.
An important correlation exists between our choices in this present life and our positions in eternity. Our attitudes, deeds, character. and so much more that we’ve developed in this age will determine our place in the next. It became clear to me that God views our significance in this life differently from us.
Jesus did not even have a large group of followers while on earth. At His cruciﬁxion, even His closest disciples deserted Him. He was mocked and rejected by most during His earthly ministry, yet He will reign throughout eternity as the Kinkings and Lord of lords.
I want to live as one destined to rule and reign in the age to come by manifesting faithfulness and humility in all circumstances now.
We must understand that lasting impact will not come through self-promotion. Rather, it’s the result of faithfulness. Very few of us strive to live out this truth now, but the day will come when we will all know how true it is that the first will be last and the last, first.