King Josiah had a faithful heart for the Lord. He followed through on his faithfulness with godly and fruitful actions, seeking to correct the harm done by the unfaithful leadership of many of the kings before him.
Merriam-Webster’s dictionary defines “faithful” as “steadfast in affection or allegiance”. Josiah was truly this way in his walk before the Lord.
As Josiah grew in wisdom and maturity, he became aware of the neglect most of Judah’s kings and their people had shown to the Lord and His temple in Jerusalem. The nation no longer held a high regard for God and His house. In fact, the worship of God in His temple had fallen into complete corruption, with many false gods and idols being worshiped there instead and catered to with the vilest of practices.
One of the first acts Josiah did during his reign was to begin the repair and purification of the temple. He took control of all the funds that had been offered there, whether they had been given on behalf of God or false idols and used them in this purification. He instructed the high priest to take the money he collected and give it to the carpenters, builders, and masons to buy the various materials needed to begin the labor to restore the temple. Josiah then added this comment:
7 However there need be no accounting made with them of the money delivered into their hand, because they deal faithfully.” 2 Kings 22:4-7 NKJV
Imagine that – Josiah was so convinced of the faithfulness of these servants that he felt no need to even make an accounting of the funds. Such honesty and trustworthiness are rare and prized qualities indeed!
Yet God expects each of us to be truthful and to act with integrity as we conduct our own lives. He wants us to be faithful to Him and to the kingdom of God as we use the various resources, gifts, and talents He has given us.
Near the end of Jesus’ ministry on earth, just before going to the cross, He shared a parable about this faithfulness with His disciples.
14 “For the kingdom of heaven is like a man traveling to a far country, who called his own servants and delivered his goods to them. 15 And to one he gave five talents, to another two, and to another one, to each according to his own ability; and immediately he went on a journey. Matthew 25:14-15 NKJV
A talent of money in Christ’s time was a great amount, approximately sixteen years of wages for a laborer. This might be worth something in the neighborhood of $500,000 US today. It is meant to represent a great gift of resources, and it is then up to the receiver to choose how to best use and invest these in their master’s absence.
19 After a long time the lord of those servants came and settled accounts with them. Matthew 25:19 NKJV
The servant given five talents had earned five more, earning praise from the master for their faithfulness. They were rewarded for their effort and promoted to be a ruler over many things and invited to a life of joy in the master’s presence.
The servant initially given two talents also invested their resources wisely and was able to produce two more from it.
22 He also who had received two talents came and said, ‘Lord, you delivered to me two talents; look, I have gained two more talents besides them.’ 23 His lord said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant; you have been faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things. Enter into the joy of your lord.’” Matthew 25:23-23 NKJV
But the servant given one talent failed to use their gift for the master’s benefit – they buried it in the ground instead. When the master returned and found this out, he became very upset. This servant did not receive praise and promotion like the other two, nor was there any invitation into the joy of the master’s presence. Instead, the servant was cast into an outer darkness, separate from the light of such fellowship, presumably joining the unhappy company of others who also chose not regard their gift or their master as a priority in life.
Christ’s parable relates not only to the material things that God has given us to use in our lives, but also how we choose to use our time, talents, and abilities to build up God’s kingdom, as the Holy Spirit leads. May we all listen to what Jesus is saying to us today about how He would have us be faithful in the use of our resources.
What is the Lord saying to me today about my faithfulness to Him and the use of my gifts and resources for His kingdom?
Lord, teach me to be like King Josiah in my faithfulness to You and to those You have put in my life. Help me to tear down the harmful things and invest more of my resources in the building up of the truly good things, those of You and Your kingdom. In Jesus’ name we pray, Amen.