A Pastor’s Ponderings: Remembering a Time When Your Word Was Your Bond

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Doug Stauffer head shot 2023By Doug Stauffer, Pastor Faith Independent Baptist Church

In a world where dependability seems to be waning, the stories of biblical figures such as Abraham, Moses, Peter and Mary Magdalene stand out as examples of biblical faithfulness. Their lives offer profound lessons on its importance. These accounts illuminate the past and offer timeless wisdom for life today.

Abraham exemplifies faithfulness by obeying God’s call to leave his homeland without knowing his destination. His journey from Ur of the Chaldees symbolizes a leap of faith grounded in trust and commitment to God’s promise. This act of faithfulness is not just about Abraham’s departure, but his steadfast belief in God’s promise to make of him a great nation. His story teaches us that faithfulness involves trust AND ACTION, even when the path ahead is completely unknown.

Moses, another model of faithfulness, led the Israelites out of Egyptian bondage and received the Ten Commandments, foundational to the Judeo-Christian faith. Despite significant challenges and setbacks, Moses’ perseverance teaches us the importance of steadfastness in pursuing a greater purpose, even when the journey is fraught with extreme difficulties. His persistence in leading his people, despite their disobedience, demonstrates the power of enduring faith in leadership.

One of the 12 apostles, Peter, exhibits a different dimension of faithfulness. Despite his initial denial of Jesus, repentance and subsequent role as an early Church leader, his life highlights the themes of forgiveness and redemption. Peter’s journey from denial to devotion underscores that faithfulness can involve growth, learning from past failures and embracing a blessed transformation. This example reminds us that faithfulness is not about perfection, but learning from past failures and moving forward with renewed commitment.
Mary Magdalene’s unwavering loyalty to Jesus, especially during the crucifixion and as the first witness to His resurrection, exemplifies faithfulness in the face of utter despair. Her story is a testament to the power of steadfast love and loyalty, even when days for her were darkest. It reminds us that true faithfulness often shines brightest against trials and tribulations.

At the core of these narratives is a profound understanding of faithfulness, not just as a religious virtue, but as a guiding principle throughout life. The Proverb, “Confidence in an unfaithful man in time of trouble is like a broken tooth, and a foot out of joint,” vividly illustrates the pain and dysfunction unfaithfulness brings, further emphasizing the value of being dependable and true to one’s word and commitments. Some of us are old enough to remember the meaning of a “Gentleman’s Agreement” and “when a handshake sealed the deal.” A man’s word was his bond, but, today, talk seems cheap, and bonds are easily broken when a more lucrative deal passes by.

In an era where commitments can be fleeting and reliability is often in short supply, these stories beckon us to consider the depth of OUR faithfulness. The biblical emphasis on faithfulness as a virtue essential for a fulfilling and righteous life encourages us to evaluate our reliability and integrity in every aspect of life.

The biblical narratives of faithfulness teach us valuable lessons about trust, perseverance, redemption and loyalty. As we navigate life’s complexities, these stories should inspire us to cultivate a deeper sense of faithfulness in our relationships, pursuits, and spiritual journey. Doing so enriches our lives and all those within our sphere of influence.

Dr. Doug Stauffer is pastor of Faith Independent Baptist Church. He was saved July 6, 1980, in Niceville, while stationed at the 33rd Tactical Fighter Wing at Eglin Air Force Base and has now been in the ministry for over 35 years.