The next Spiritual gift on the list in Galatians 5 is faithfulness. As we have walked through the gifts listed in that chapter, we have reminded ourselves that Spiritual gifts are not natural talents or character attributes. Those are God-given, to be sure, but are a permanent part of our tool belt, which we can choose to use for God’s glory.
Spiritual gifts are those gifts, given by the Spirit into the hearts and lives of God’s people, that help them to meet a kingdom need or task. They seem to be unique to situation and time, and they are gifts that we cannot conjure on our own. They require the work of the Spirit.
And so it is with faithfulness. You and I are here today because we are people of faith, a faith that was given to us by God Himself. We have chosen to place our trust in God, and to give our time to God today because He is worthy of it. But the Spiritual gift of faithfulness is that faith that goes beyond general trusting, and is willing to believe that God is at work when no one else does.
In the Bible, Gideon seems to have been one who expressed the Spiritual gift of faithfulness, being willing to lead only 300 meager Israelites into battle against thousands of intimidating Midianites (Judges 6-7). Likewise, Ruth exhibited the Spiritual gift of faithfulness after losing her family; against hope, she trusted that God was not finished with her, and followed her mother-in-law Naomi, instead of returning to her father’s family.
These are examples of faith that goes beyond what we can conjure on our own. There are temptations in our lives to give up on situations or even to give up on God. Studies show that many people have, or are in the process of giving up on church; others are facing incredible challenges in their lives; and still others are walking through what feels like calamity after calamity.
Each of these can create a sense of hopelessness, like what Ruth and Gideon experienced. But faith that God will carry us through to hope is something that we cannot manufacture. It is the work of God; it is the Spiritual gift of God that allows us to put one foot in front of the other, to hang in when the going gets tough, and to hold on to God’s promises instead of letting go.
As we worship today, may God’s blessed gift of faithfulness be evident in our hearts.