FAITHFUL & FAITH-FULL
In Luke 1:5-25 we find a wonderful story of a righteous, priestly couple called Zechariah and Elizabeth who’ve obeyed God’s commands blamelessly all their lives and are now very old. They’ve also been praying (vs 3), and they’re about to get word that their prayer has been heard.
At times when I’ve prayed I’ve found myself ticking off categories of activity as if I can ensure answered prayer through being good enough, having enough faith, using the right words, having a fresh understanding of truth, or some other formula. This would be foolish enough if it weren’t for an additional tendency to give up and move on if God doesn’t answer in the way I expect.
In the story of Zechariah and Elizabeth it reads as though they’ve consistently lived right before God and that even without their answer from God they’ve stayed faithful. They’ve continued to follow God’s ways and have not sinned against him in all their years of trusting.
Zechariah and Elizabeth model for us faithfulness in the face of adversity. Their time did not eventually come until it was considered far too late by normal standards, yet it was precisely then that God acted and of course it turned out to be just at the right time.
Today, our responsibility is to be both ‘faithful’ and ‘faith-full’, regardless of whether it seems to be ‘working’ or not.
I’ve observed that people often form into one of two camps – one loudly proclaiming the need for people to be boldly ‘faith-full’ and the other firmly reminding people that God’s call is for us to be ‘faithful’. In the stories at the beginning of Luke’s gospel we read time and time again that we don’t have to choose between the two.
The right approach is to choose both.