By Luther A. Bolenbarker
Whenever I hear the word “commitment” or “total commitment” I am reminded of the old story about the pig and the chicken who were going down an old dirt road together when they saw a sign announcing a charitable banquet. Both of them wanted to help, but they couldn’t think of a way. Suddenly, the chicken said, “I know! We’ll sell tickets to an old fashioned country breakfast. I’ll donate the eggs and you can donate the ham.”
“Whoa!” said the pig. “For you that is just a contribution, but for me that is total commitment.”
Too many of us are like the chicken. We want to get involved, but we don’t want to make a real commitment and get too involved. We are willing to give a little time (with some it’s less than others) each week to the services and even give a little (again with some it is very little) of our money to keep the bills of the church paid, but too few of us are totally committed to Christ and his church.
All or none? God’s service requirement is all or none! We must be convicted to the point that we are giving our whole self. We must love him with “all our heart, soul, strength, and mind” (Lk. 10:27). When we are truly committed to him, we have a single purpose to do what is right. Jesus stated, “If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me” (Matt. 16:24). “So likewise whosoever he be of you that forsakes not all that he has, he cannot be my disciple” (Lk. 14:33). “He that loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me” (Matt. 10:37-38). Commitment to Christ may cost us everything. We must determine to be true to our Lord regardless of the cost. Jesus was so determined. When his time was near to die, “he steadfastly set his face to go to Jerusalem ” (Lk. 9:51). He knew the horrors that lay ahead for him, the railings, slappings, scourging and the inhumane tortue of a cruel cross. His path was lonely, but he never looked back nor slowed down.
Total commitment? In studying the lives of great achievers, we can find the common key to their success is “total commitment” to the task at hand. In the area of athletics, music, education, etc., in order to be the best it takes “practice, practice, practice” or to be totally committed to the given task.
Some personal observations. I have never known of a farmer who went hungry because he attended worship services on Sunday rather than plowing his fields. I have never known of a student who failed in school because he attended Bible classes on Wednesday night instead of studying for an exam. I have never known of an illness getting worse because someone attended services. I have never known of fatal accidents caused because people attended worship services. Have you?
Living sacrifices, The Christian is to give his body “a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God” (Rom. 12:1). We are not called upon to give our bodies to be burned upon an altar, but we have been asked to give them as living sacrifices. We must turn over all our lives and energy to do God’s will in all areas of our lives.
These days if people hear about someone who is truly committed to Christ, someone is ready to call him a religious fanatic, a nut, or he is a member of some cult. What do you suppose the Jerusalem Christians were called? “They sold their possessions and goods, and parted them to all men, as every man had need” (Acts 2:44-45). Or, how about the Macedonians who gave “beyond their ability” to help meet the needs of others? Fanatics? Nuts? Cult members? I am inclined to think they just wanted to be simple, humble Christians, who had totally committed themselves to the Lord and his church. What do you think?
Guardian of Truth XXXVI: 9, p. 274
May 7, 1992