Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Reflections for April 7, 2009

From now to next February, college coaches across the nation will be trying to secure commitments from young high school athletes across the nation to attend their perspective schools. It is interesting to observe the recruiting language players use in this process. It is not uncommon for a recruit to make a commitment to a particular school, and in the same breath to say he is still open and considering other possibilities.

Apparently, I do not know the meaning of the word commitment. I thought when a commitment had been made, it was final. Apparently, the new generation sees it to mean something entirely different. Instead of being final, it refers to the direction one is headed unless something better comes along.

It is not my purpose to single out athletes. This same attitude toward commitment can be seen across the board in our society today. It is seen in the workplace, in marriage relationships, in friendships, in labor negotiations, and many other areas of society. People have reached the point that commitment means they will be faithful until it doesn’t fit their needs anymore. The thought of a commitment resulting in personal sacrifices is becoming rare.

Unfortunately, this secular adaptation of the word has crossed into the Christian understanding of commitment. It has become increasingly difficult to get people to make long term commitments to positions within the church. People are willing to serve as long as it does not pose an inconvenience for them. With this new type of willingness to serve, people are not willing to agree to serve for the long term, because something better may come along.

This understanding of commitment flies in the face of the teaching of Jesus. He did not pull any punches. He did not sugar coat His message. He did not leave wiggle room. He said, “If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me. For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it; but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it” (Matthew 16:24, 25 NASB). This teaching of Jesus does not mesh well with the modern concept of commitment. It calls for a total yielding of ourselves to a higher authority. It calls for sacrifice of ones self for others. It teaches that we find genuine life, not by self-indulgence but by giving ourselves in service to others. It paints a true picture of what commitment is suppose to mean.

It seems we are faced with a choice. Are we going to accept society’s view of commitment or are we going to accept Christ’s view? Society’s view promises the world and delivers emptiness. Christ’s command demands everything and gives us a fullness of life that can be found no where else. What will you choose today?

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