For over 50 years I’ve been involved with the theater arts as stagehand, actor and director and I’ve been blessed to be involved in dozens of productions. Each show had its own charm and every one of them has blessed me with many fond memories. I can’t think of one I wish I hadn’t of done.
Though I’ve been blessed to be a part of so many shows, there are those I never had the chance to do for one reason or another. All theater people have their list of shows they’d like to do. Top among mine is the musical “Fiddler on the Roof.” The story centers on Tevye, a milkman in the village of Anatevka in imperial Russia. In the story, Tevye attempts to stay true to his Jewish religious and cultural traditions even as the greater society puts pressure upon his family life. Within the story he is forced to deal with the strong-willed actions of his three older daughters who wish to marry for love; their choices of husbands are successively less palatable for Tevye and his wife Golde.
In one scene, the discussion of who his daughter is to marry brings up the question of love within their own marriage. Their marriage was arranged as was the case of many Jewish marriages of the time. In the scene, Tevye is asking his wife, Golde, if she loves him. She responds with a list of all the things she’s done for him over the years – cook his meals, cleaned his house, milked the cow. But Tevye isn’t satisfied. Does she love him? And finally, she realizes that she does.
In all their years together, Golde remained steadfast in her commitment to marriage. She did the things that a wife was expected to do. Just like her mother probably did before her, she played the part of a dedicated wife. But did her steadfastness necessarily equate to love?
In our relationship with God, we also are asked to be steadfast. From 1 Corinthians 15:58, “Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain.”
Looking at this verse at face value, it could be interpreted in much the same way as an arranged Jewish marriage in imperial Russia circa 1905 might be interpreted. Love is not mentioned, only commitment. The real question is where this steadfastness comes from, a sense of duty or an act of love.
As usual we look at our Creator for clues of His steadfastness toward us. Why has he remained so steadfast in His dedication. Does he feel he has to because of the covenant He has made with us? Does he remain committed simply because He made a deal? Or is there something much deeper than that?
Romans 5:8 – “But God shows His love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”
1 John 3:1 – See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are.”
1 John 4:16 – “So we have come to know and to believe that love that God has for us. God is love, and whoever abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him.”
1 John 4:19 – “We love because He first loved us.”
Psalm 86:15 – “But You, O Lord, are a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding n steadfast love and faithfulness.”
Its clear that God remains steadfast in His commitment to us because he loves us. He is defined by love and His dedication towards us has love as its foundation.
Can you say the same toward Him? Steadfastness is defined in Christian terms as an unwavering faith toward God. Does that describe your dedication to Him? If so, is that steadfastness based on love or on a sense of duty toward a commitment made?
God is looking for your steadfast love as well as your steadfast faith. He wants a trust built on the knowledge of His love toward you that promises to never leave you or forsake you. Can you make this same promise? Will you return this steadfastness even during hardship?
“Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love Him” (James 1:12). Please pray with me:
Heavenly Father, thank you for Your steadfastness toward us and help us to return that love by being steadfast to You in return. Amen.