Faithfulness is a virtue. That's what I was taught when I was young. But as I grew older, I wondered why I didn't see much of it. Now I wonder if it's considered a virtue worth valuing.
Faithfulness is valuable, more than ever. Its value is seen in two important ways—our character and in relationships. In a world where we may wonder if integrity counts for anything, those who are faithful, those who can be counted on, are especially valuable.
And then there are relationships. Faithfulness in relationships may seem naive, but oh how valuable it is. Anyone who has been wounded by unfaithfulness or violated trust knows this.
The world is looking for people who are faithful in life and relationships. This should be commonplace for people of the Christian faith—for God is always faithful.
Keep alert for opportunities
Last week, we looked at the value of getting personal and connecting with people and their life stories. I've posted about this before, but it bears repeating. It's easy to discount the value of our life story, but over the years I've been enriched hearing the stories of other people.
There's always more to people than first impressions and appearances. When we're able to connect our own life story and that of others to God's story of redemption, a wonderful depth and dimension is added.
This week, I want to wrap this series up by looking at how to be alert for opportunities to engage people, and be ready to share your faith.
Look for opportunities in everyday life
The routine of every day life can lull us into a dull stupor, if we're not careful. If you find yourself sleep-walking through life, it's time to stop and look around at life passing you by. When you do, you'll start seeing the people you cross paths with in a different light. But this requires an additional step.
This additional step needs to be intentional. It's a step requiring us to look beyond ourself. There's a place for introspection, a small place in life. When we look inside for too long, we lose perspective and all we begin to see is our self. Jesus calls us to deny our self (Luke (9:23), not study our self. Once we get our eyes off our self, we'll be able to see people in our life.
As mentioned last week, we need to be open to getting personal with people. Not nosy and getting in their business, but interested in them. This means asking questions about them and showing genuine interest in them and their life story. This usually opens up opportunities to share our own life story, or better, God's story.
Get more familiar with various stories in the Bible
Bible stories aren't just for children in Sunday School. When I tell people about biblical storying, the first reaction is often dismissing it as too simple and childlike. Funny, I remember Jesus saying we need to become like children to be included in God's kingdom (Matt 18:1-5).
But stories are loved by everyone—everyone. I shared last week about my experience overseas and in a village church in Ethiopia. My first awareness of the power of telling stories came while teaching children, and especially overseas. And then there's Jesus who often taught with stories called parables to convey the truth of God's kingdom.
How do you become more familiar with the stories of the Bible? Again, we need to be intentional. You can start by reading and listening through the Bible. I recommend using various Bible versions so you can hear it in other words than whatever version you normally use.
There are several resources for learning stories in the Bible, and for learning how to tell biblical stories well. Here's one online site where you will find several resources—International Orality Network (ION)