I put Shelemiah the priest, Zadok the scribe, and a Levite named Pedaiah in charge of the storerooms and made Hanan son of Zaccur, the son of Mattaniah, their assistant, because these men were considered trustworthy.Nehemiah 13:13a
Notice how representative this group is that he chooses. There is a priest, a scribe, a Levite, and a layman. All four represent various aspects of the life of Israel and share one great quality. He tells us,
these men were considered trustworthy (Nehemiah 13:13b). They were faithful men. I have discovered that today faithfulness is a quality not highly esteemed, although we often pay lip service to it. It is disheartening to me at times to see how few people take seriously the responsibility to carry through faithfully what they have undertaken.
Faithfulness is the quality that God admires. Paul says in 1 Corinthians of those who minister in the church:
Now it is required that those who have been given a trust must prove faithful (1 Corinthians 4:2). That is the primary thing God looks for: the ability to hang in with an assignment until you are through; the willingness to fulfill responsibility year after year, not needing to be praised or thanked or publicly encouraged in order to do so; to work unto the Lord; to show up on time and to not leave until the work is done.
I have learned through the years to look for four qualities in leaders, whether they are men or women. I look first for a searching mind: a person who is mentally alert, who has curiosity about life, who wants to learn all the time. Such a person is always reading, always listening, always thinking about what he or she hears, and trying to reason out what is behind it.
Second, I look for a humble heart--someone whose ego is not on the line all the time, who must be praised and honored and encouraged in order to get him to do anything at all; who gets disgruntled and turned off if she does not get recognized. I look for someone who understands that service is a privilege; that power is not conferred upon a person by an office but by serving people.
Third, I look for an evident gift: God's people are gifted people. There is not one of the members of the body of Christ who has not been equipped by the Holy Spirit with a special ability to do something. When Christians know what it is, they always enjoy doing it. It is not a burden any more than wings are a burden to a bird. It is a delight to them. I look for people who have the gift for what we are asking them to do because they will stay with it and enjoy it to the end.
And then, fourth, undergirding all the others and making them possible, is a faithful spirit--someone who will not quit; someone who sees her work as a ministry of service to the Lord Himself; who has undertaken it out of gratitude in his own life and heart, and no matter how tough it gets, will not quit.
God looks for these kind of people to change the age in which they live. That is what we are called to do today. We are all included in this calling, not just the obvious, visible leaders. What is required are faithful men and women who are willing to carry this through to the end.
Father, I ask that You would develop in me a spirit of faithfulness. Help me to stick with the responsibilities You give to the end.
In a culture where unfaithfulness is rampant, are we thoughtfully alert, humbly motivated, and faithfully committed to be counter-cultural?