June 2013

More Than a Desire

A hen and a pig approached a church and read the advertised sermon topic, "What can we do to help the poor?" Immediately, they both felt convicted and wanted to help. The hen suggested they give bacon and eggs. The pig thought it sounded good, but then realized one thing wrong with the suggestion. "For you to give eggs," he said to the hen, "requires only a contribution, but for me to give bacon requires a total commitment."

The pig seemed to have a better understanding of commitment than most people in our society. Our world is producing men and women, who are uncommitted, who lack the stamina for the long haul, who do not take responsibility seriously, and who shun discipline. We have created a nation that preaches convenience over commitment, comfort over character, and compromise over conviction. Our commitments today are good as long as they make us feel good.

A true understanding of commitment appears to be sorely lacking among Christians as well. Pews are filled with people who contribute when it is convenient. But where are the men and women today who are willing to sacrifice for the furthering of God's Kingdom? Speaker and pastor, James Boice observes, "we are far more often encouraged to join a committee, back a project financially or even serve on a board than we are counseled to examine our relationship to God and His Son Jesus Christ." As long as pews are filled on Sunday mornings, few questions are asked of our spiritual life. The emphasis is placed on what we know rather than how we live and on what we do rather than who we are. Our commitments become verbal assents without visible action. The truth concerning commitment is that is requires more than a desire.

At various times in my life I have desired to run. I consider buying new running shoes, but decide the old tennis shoes will do just fine. I'm then ready to begin a lifetime of jogging. I map out a course through the neighborhood. Two miles, at a slow pace- no problem. My first workout is scheduled for early the next morning– my maiden voyage. In the still quiet hour of early morning...Buzzzzzzz!-the alarm clock goes off.  Subconsciously, I slap the alarm off. It's too early...dark...cold...to start today.  I'll stay under the covers for a few more minutes. Before I knew it, I've dozed back to sleep. I reschedule my conquest for tomorrow, telling myself even space shuttle launches are postponed. But as I watch the evening news, I learn of a 10 % chance of morning showers. "Hummm, I better not chance it tomorrow, might get sick." Day after day, I come up with creative excuses not to run. Finally, after a few isolated runs, my running career is history-I’ll switch to golf!  What was my problem?  I had grand illusions and lofty desires, but no real commitment. It is one thing to feel desirous to be a runner.  But it is something totally different to discipline myself morning after morning to run. Like the story of 7 frogs sitting on a log. They all desire to jump into the water. How many frogs are sitting on the log? Seven! A desire is useless without action. 

A little boy asked his father, “Dad, you know when the Bible says ‘Thou shall not commit adultery’? Well, what does commit mean?”
Commitment moves beyond a strong desire to actions. Commitment gets you up for Sunday School after staying up late on Saturday night.  Commitment cultivates daily Bible study even through you are busy.  Commitment encourages prayer even when the feelings aren't there.
Commitment develops faithfulness to obligations and responsibilities, even when your feeling and desires have faded. Commitment urges kindness to those who are hurting, even when you are tired and weary.  Commitment brings about spiritual growth, so that you can have a ministry and impact others for Him.  Commitment causes you to trust in the Lord and do His will in your life.  Psalms 37:5 encourages you and I to "Commit your way to the Lord, Trust also in Him, and He will do it." 

If you don’t take God seriously, you’ll probably not take God at all! 
                                                                                       
                                                                                                                            -Pastor Mike Kotrla