Churches: Faithfulness one of the homely graces of Christian life

Thought for the Week from Rev Arthur Clarke of the Presbyterian Church:

Rev Arthur Clarke of the Presbyterian Church
Rev Arthur Clarke of the Presbyterian Church

A young Mississippi lawyer, snatching time in a busy law practice, wrote a novel about corporate gangsters.

He entitled it simply ‘The Firm’ and submitted it to 28 different publishers before the 19th accepted it. And so, American best-selling author John Grisham slogged on.

In 1954, Jimmy Denney, manager of the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville, Tennessee, fired a youth called Elvis Presley with this memorable quote - “You ain’t goin’ nowhere son! You ought to go back to driving trucks”. Elvis kept his guitar and the rest you know!

St Paul worked hard to establish the Church of Christ in Corinth. The Corinthian fellowship was a factious trouble-making bunch. They doubted the Apostolic authenticity of Paul and loudly praised other leaders. Surely the temptation to leave them to their quarrelling must have been strong for Paul. What kept him going? “Therefore, since through God’s mercy, we have received this ministry, we do not lose heart,” he said.

Faithfulness is one of the homely graces of the Christian life. The temptation to seek a quick fix and collect stories of victorious events and then declare them to all who will listen has a strong appeal to some servants of Christ. Faithfulness knows no difference between small and great duties. Indeed, it is reality in the economy of God that only those who handle insignificant tasks with diligence are raised up in God’s timing. Faithfulness is our business, fruitfulness is an an issue we must be content to leave with God.

There is a verse in the Old Testament prophecy of Ezekiel which is very sad reading. On God’s behalf, this exiled faithful servant declared: “I looked for a man among them who would build up the wall before me on behalf of the land. But I found none”.

Faithful servants are always in demand.