Faithfulness When (It Seems) No One Is Watching

I haven’t written anything in a week.

Our family is in a season of fullness, and in the midst of all this, I haven’t had the time (or mental focus) to sit down at my computer and write.

And it’s been bothering me.

For me, writing has been a public-facing act of faithfulness—and honestly, I’m struggling with its absence. Why? I genuinely love it (praise God), and I put too much of my identity in it. I wrongly see it as the way I can be faithful to the Lord, when God has placed an abundance of opportunities for faithfulness all around me, in every moment, even the seemingly smallest and most quiet ones.

Daily Faithfulness?

When you’re not producing, and it seems no one is watching, do you feel like a failure? Do you sense that maybe, just maybe, your present days are worth less than more meaningful ones?

As a new mom, I’m learning how often mothers feel this. We go from the workplace, perhaps, where our gifts are being more tangibly used and weighed and applauded, to the relative obscurity of caring for little ones who need us at every waking moment, but seem to give little in return. Or it might be the opposite situation: Maybe we’re at work full-time, but we’re drawn to stay home, wondering how we can be truly faithful if we aren’t with our kids.

For those of you who aren’t moms, I wonder if some of you are working jobs you don’t particularly care for, and it feels like your gifts have been shelved. Or maybe you’re watching others climb the ladder to worldly success while an illness or disability has benched you, making you wonder if you’ll ever be useful again.

I don’t presume to grasp God’s sovereign choice in giving some people more obvious, public-facing opportunities to be faithful than others; as Jesus said to Peter when the disciple asked him about another man’s future, “You follow me!” (John 21:22). But I do know God sees us and has a different definition of faithfulness than the world.

The Widow’s Offering

We see this in the story of the widow’s offering in Mark 12:

And [Jesus] sat down opposite the treasury and watched the people putting money into the offering box. Many rich people put in large sums. And a poor widow came and put in two small copper coins, which make a penny. And he called his disciples to him and said to them, “Truly, I say to you, this poor widow has put in more than all those who are contributing to the offering box. For they all contributed out of their abundance, but she out of her poverty has put in everything she had, all she had to live on.” (vv. 41-44)

Jesus is teaching his disciples about pretense, faithfulness, and sacrifice, using a monetary offering as his illustration. The poor widow’s contribution is “more,” he says, than that of the rich because she gives freely out of her obvious lack.

Her offering hurts and, therefore, it demonstrates great trust that God sees her and will provide for her. She’s faithful because God is, and has been, faithful to her first.

Unlike the widow, do I believe the only offering that matters is the offering of “abundance”? Do I forget how God knows my heart, and that a sacrifice of “two small copper coins” made in faithfulness is “more” than an offering of plenty made for the wrong reasons?

Free to Be Faithful

What would it look like for us to entrust our seemingly meager, quiet, private moments of faithfulness to God today? When “all [we have] to live on” seems insufficient for our joy, peace, and purpose, will we trust that Jesus sees us, and will provide all these in himself?

No career advancement, well-behaved children, or accolades will satisfy our desire to be seen and to be useful. No sooner is our faithfulness applauded and recognized by men than we need another dose of these. But when we find our joy and purpose not in what we can do for God, but in who he is and what he’s done for us in Christ, we’re free to give ourselves in faithfulness to every opportunity, no matter how small, for nothing is private before the eyes of God. We’re free to offer ourselves as a “living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is [our] spiritual worship” (Romans 12:1).

The Lord of the universe came as a humble, most-faithful man. And through his life, death, and resurrection, he gives himself to us so our greatest and deepest desires to be seen and known would be reoriented, met in himself, and motivated by his “well done, good and faithful servant” (Matthew 25:21).

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