“For everything there is a season, a time for every activity under heaven…
A time to be quiet and a time to speak.” (Ecclesiastes 3:1,7 NLT)
It’s been a bit quiet around here lately. When I started blogging, I was happily churning out two or three posts a week and taking part in 31 day challenges. There seemed to be no shortage of words.
After the initial flurry of words was out, I gradually settled into a pattern that seemed to work: one post a week in addition to taking part in Five Minute Friday whenever I could. For a long time, that worked well.
Then the pandemic hit, and, as with everything else, normality was disrupted. I probably had more time, but I had no focus. After working all day from a computer instead of face-to-face with people I had no motivation to spend any longer looking at a screen. Zoom sapped the energy from me, and, without the little everyday interactions that so often sparked my posts, I felt lost for words.
Over the last couple of months, life here has transitioned to something bearing a much closer resemblance to “normal.” It feels like long-forgotten parts of myself have been awakened, and, despite the busyness, it’s been energising.
I suddenly have a lot to say. The issue now is that none of it is my story to tell.
My word for the year is “faithfulness,” and I’m discovering that sometimes being faithful means staying quiet. This is one of the biggest challenges of running a one-to-one mentoring ministry – seeing God at work in wonderful ways but being unable to share the stories. It is a privilege to see and hear things no-one else gets to see and hear, and it’s been amazing to catch some glimpses of God’s work in individual lives even through the craziness of the last eighteen months, but it is so hard to stay quiet! Maybe one day I’ll get to share, but I know that now is not the moment.
All that to say, I’m not sure what pattern of blogging I’m going to settle into as some form of “normal” resumes, but I hope to get back into a regular rhythm soon.
It got me thinking though about how faithfulness is often quiet and unnoticed. It’s praying day after day for a loved one or for a situation. It’s doing the background tasks that are so often taken for granted by others. It’s doing the right thing even when no-one else sees, refusing to give in to the easy choice or the popular choice, but seeking to honour God.
Two years ago, I found myself in a situation where I had to make one of those choices. In the end it wasn’t so difficult. I was pretty clear on what the faithful choice would be. But what strikes me is that if I had chosen differently, people would have celebrated. On the face of it, it would have looked like a good choice, something that God was blessing. It’s unlikely that anyone would have tried to talk me out of it, and it wouldn’t have been an obviously sinful choice, but I know it wouldn’t have been the right choice.
I have no regrets about the choice I made, but because I made the choice I did only two other people know the story. It makes me wonder about all the other faithful choices and faithful lives that go unnoticed every day.
So often the Christians that are held up as an example are those who have very obvious, visible ministries – the big-name speakers, authors, and worship leaders. And I’m sure many of them are good examples of faithfulness, but I’m also sure that some of the most faithful people are those we will never hear of, those who quietly get on with the tasks God has called them to with little acclaim or acknowledgement.
In 1 Thessalonians 4:11, Paul instructs them: “Make it your goal to live a quiet life, minding your own business and working with your hands, just as we instructed you before.”
I wonder how many people today live with that as their goal – I’m guessing not very many!
Quiet faithfulness is not something that is celebrated in today’s culture. More often than not it is overlooked and goes unnoticed.
But it is never unnoticed by God.
And I think the key to a faithful life lies in who we’re looking to please. Are we looking to live up to the standards and expectations of the world around us, or are we seeking God above all else?
A faithful life may go unnoticed and unrewarded in earthly terms, but God notices, and one day the reward will come:
“Well done, my good and faithful servant.” (Matthew 25:21 NLT)