Many times when I am reading the words of Jesus, I am amazed when His words separate people. In Matthew 25 we have various separations taking place: those who are ready for His coming, and those who are not prepared; the sheep and the goats; and the faithful from the unfaithful. The parable of the talents is all about faithfulness. You could study this parable found in verses 14-30 and not exhaust its practical applications. It is a significant and relevant story about fidelity.

Noah Webster’s 1828 Dictionary defines fidelity as “faithfulness; careful and exact observation of duty; performing of obligations.” This is the doctrine of faithfulness that separates, as we used to say, the men from the boys. The Lord makes faithfulness the litmus test of blessings and rewards from God. It is not intelligence or education; it is not abilities and gifts that separate us. It is a character trait: fidelity. Without it you lose the blessings, but with it you receive great blessings. Faithfulness is the foundation of godly character. Faithful men are strong in character; unfaithful men are weak in character. In the end, it is all determined by one’s will and grit to be found faithful.

Jesus pointed this out when He praised John the Baptist. He was no reed shaken in the wind, but he was a pillar of strength that withstood every stormy gale. The glory of John is best described in Jesus’ own words: “Among them that are born of women there hath not risen a greater than John the Baptist.”

First, be sure to notice that faithfulness calls for courage. The man with one talent plainly said, “I was afraid.” Faithful people understand calculated risks. Doing God’s will is risky work; that is what makes it an adventure. The one-talent man probably slept well at night, but God has not called us to sleep, but to work—His work. Duty seems to get harder as one gets older. Youthful enthusiasm fuels faithfulness. Age and experience can make it harder to be a faithful Christian. Your parents get older and are in need of constant attention. You are faithful to your mate even when he (she) has changed drastically from the time you were young. This is faithfulness when no one is looking, no one is applauding. This is why faithfulness calls for courage.

Secondly, faithfulness is the road to power. Jesus said, “… thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things.” Note it in your Bible: “faithful… ruler… many things.” Jesus connects the dots to a better power than the world offers. This abundant life is worth living, not because of the good we might do, so much as the example of faithfulness to those looking at our lives. We read God’s words in Jeremiah, “And seekest thou great things for thyself? Seek them not.” Once you know what God has called you to do, continue to the end. Be faithful and let him take care of the rest.

Lastly, joy is the reward of faithfulness. Jesus concluded, “Enter thou into the joy of thy lord.” Did you catch that? It is not success and joy. It is not wealth and joy. It is not fame and joy. It is not the work and joy. What is it then? It is faithfulnessand joy. Because of your faithfulness, you have will have joy. Faithfulness is the result of doing the details of His work. Others may come in late or leave early, but you stay and see it through. The faithful watchman is the weary workman. Love the Lord more than the labor. Your joy will be fully realized when He returns to judge your obedience.

I do not think a lot about what I would like people to remember about me after I am gone, but faithful has to be up there at the top of my list. I don’t just say it to other people, but I remind myself of it almost every day:

“Press on; never quit.”