The picture from our devotional today is the iconic “Old Faithful” geyser at Yellowstone National Park.
In this case, the term “faithful” means regular, dependable and consistent.
It’s sort of funny, but I miss-remembered the word for today and only used the root word, faith, for my facebook Lent Photo A Day entry. It’s ok, it is a devotional sort of thing, so I went with it, and just tweaked it a bit for my photo a day bloggy thing. But it got me to thinking. How does the word faithful change and expand on the root word? Being faithful does have the connotation that I described above. Faith I am afraid we often think of as a stagnant thing, something that we can point to, very much a noun, i.e., “she has faith”. The word Faithful, on the other hand, is very action oriented, it moves, it does, it acts. It is in many ways what the word faith should be and is when lived out as Christ would have us do.
Our reading today has much to do with the living out of the faith, being faithful and addressing difficult subjects with faithfulness. There are many people don’t like in this chapter. The portion on divorce, no matter how you address it will irritate someone. The part about eunuchs will cause many to scratch their heads in befuddlement. The part of Jesus blessing the small children is cute, but it is short, and then we get a conversation about money and things that get in the way of a faithful life. Even the disciples found this too much, and ask “Then who can be saved?”
That question drives us back to the root, not of a word but the Word. Jesus replies “For mortals it is impossible, but for God all things are possible.” The chapter ends with Jesus once again stating that the first shall be last, and the last shall be first. This upside downness is exactly the point. We tend to think of being faithful as something we do; it isn’t, it is like all else a gift from God. God is the source of faith, and as we ponder faithfulness we return to the source to give thanks and to a rest and trust fully in God’s faithfulness to his creation, which is regular, dependable and consistent now and forever, amen.