The Plodding Faithful

March 2017

While I was preparing to preach on Hebrews 6 recently, I spent quite a bit of time reading the context surrounding the chapter in order to be able to better exposit this very difficult passage. In looking at that I was reminded of a truth that I meditated upon several years ago. In Hebrews 5:11-14 the preacher reproves his listeners for their laziness, as it makes it difficult for them to understand the heavy doctrine of Jesus’ high priesthood “in the order of Melchizedek” (5:10). The preacher then makes this observation: “But solid food is for the mature – for those whose senses have been trained to distinguish between good and evil.” (5:13 – HCSB) The interesting point about the word “trained” is that it is originally used for the kind of training that athletes do. Such training is repetitive, takes long hours and can be very boring. I’ve watched videos of a goalie training his rolls, leaps and lunges. When he got to his feet at times he would grimace as if in pain, but he kept on going, because he knew he’d need to be adequately trained at game time.

I have often exercised as well and can tell you that it is not fun, but painful; especially when you haven’t done it for a while. Sometimes I feel better afterwards, often not, but the effects of regular training come in the long-run. In the same way, our spiritual discipline of regularly being in the Word and prayer, working to deepen our understanding of Scripture and God’s truth, to reach out to people with the Gospel, is not always fun or rewarding; as a matter of fact, it is often boring. It is hard work that is fraught with struggle and disappointment. We hear people making claims of how we are failing; but we aren’t called to success. We are called to faithfulness; and more often this is a plodding faithfulness than a running faithfulness. Jesus tells us that we need to view ourselves as “good-for-nothing slaves” who have “only done our duty.” (Lk. 17:10 – HCSB) However, we should look forward to Jesus’ highest commendation: “Well done, good and faithful slave!” (Mt. 25:21,23 – HCSB), which will come in Eternity. Remember, we live for the world to come, not this world.

The Turks have a proverb, “Drop by drop a lake is formed.” It takes time and faithfulness for us to grow, mature and serve in God’s kingdom. “Sometimes we run by the power of His might, on our own at the best we can plod,” writes Michael Card.1 So let’s enjoy the run when it comes, but keep plodding faithfully when it does not, for that is what will gain us our reward.

Image Credit: skeeze; pixabay.com

  • 1. Michael Card. “Pilgrims to the City of God”, Soul Anchor, CD, (Myrrh Records, 2001).