Cruise Control Christianity

I get a bad rap sometimes for my liberal usage of cruise control. I’ll set it while I’m driving on the interstate (as any good Christian should), I’ll set it on city roads, I’ll even set it to 20 mph as I drive down my street (two blocks). In short, if I can use it, I’m going to use it. Not every passenger who has ridden with me in my trusty ’07 Toyota Camry has been in perfect agreement with my cruise control habits. Some have even been quite contrary in their opinions regarding how I use it.

Faithfulness can get the same bad press in Christian circles. It can be seen as mindless cruise control: press the button, take your foot off the gas, and just coast. I have often slipped into this view of others who have shown a great deal of faithfulness in an area of service. Like the woman who has been serving in childcare for 23 years, teaching 3rd-grade boys and girls about Jesus. Or the guy who hands you a bulletin every Sunday and has done so since you have been a member. I am of a generation who seems to value “breaking the mold” over being consistent and dependable. Thus, my thoughts of these faithful individuals can descend to: “why haven’t they ‘advanced’ to other positions? Why not try something else? Get out of your comfort zone and stop cruising!”

Faithfulness is seen as laziness. Being dependable is viewed as being sinfully content. Consistency is misconstrued as being comfort-seeking.

1 Corinthians 4:2 says, “it is required of stewards that they be found faithful.” Required, not optional. God calls all of us to faithfulness, because if you really believe that God owns everything (and He does), then you are a steward. If you are a steward (and you are), then you are to be found faithful. Year after year, decade after decade, faithfulness may prove to be the hardest trial the Lord places before you – a far cry from cruise control.

Would others describe you as faithful, or flaky? Take time to ask this hard question of someone who knows you well and who you believe would give you an honest answer. If you are found to be faithful, praise God for His grace in your life and keep on grinding right where He has you. After all, “He changes times and seasons; he removes kings and sets up kings…” (Daniel 2:21). He will raise you up when the time is right – here or in the Kingdom to come.

If you are found to be flaky, seek counsel on ways that you can specifically be working on this area. Go to a trusted older saint who has shown faithfulness and ask them how they have managed to be faithful. Pray that God would change your heart and make you faithful in all that He has given you to steward. Finally, trust in Him: “If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask him!” (Matthew 7:11)

Stefan Nitzschke
Stefan Nitzschke serves on the pastoral team at Faith Church. He and his wife have a passion for discipleship and evangelism. They are the blessed parents of four carefree boys and one sweet girl.