There is a word that many seem to struggle with in our culture. What is the word? The word is commitment. Years ago, Chuck Colson wrote an article, The Lost Art of Commitment, published in Christianity Today. In the article he sighted the reasons why younger adults lack commitment. What are the reasons? The reasons are “a desire for adventure, career advancement, and prolonged adolescence.” He goes on to say, “the unwillingness to commit is alarming, clearly one result of the philosophies of the 1960s and ’70s . . .” However, this problem isn’t limited to young adults. In fact, I know young adults who are very committed and older adults that aren’t committed at all. In any case, the lack of commitment has permeated the church. Ed Stetzer coins this problem “the biggest sin in your church.” That’s right. In the average church, only 20 percent of the people do 80 percent of the work of ministry.
When Joshua was coming to the end of his life, he addressed the leadership of Israel. In that address is a profound statement. He stated, “But as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.”
JOS 24:14 “Now therefore fear the Lord and serve him in sincerity and in faithfulness. Put away the gods that your fathers served beyond the River and in Egypt, and serve the Lord. 15 And if it is evil in your eyes to serve the Lord, choose this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your fathers served in the region beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you dwell. But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.”
The first issue in commitment is examining how we see the LORD. The Bible clearly teaches that the LORD is God alone (Exodus 20:3, Deuteronomy 6:4). However, as was the case with Israel, we worship and serve other gods. And, among these gods, we often worship and serve “self.” This idolatry is sin. In response, we are directed to put away these other gods. We don’t put them away in our closet or our basement, so we can get them out and play with them from time to time. Instead, we repent and drive them out never to return. So, to reiterate the point, the LORD alone is God. If you don’t see Him that way, you won’t be committed.
The second issue in commitment is making a choice. There are many false gods. You have many choices. But, in Joshua’s case, he was committed to serving the LORD. This is leadership my friends. In fact, Joshua leads by example. How about you? Notice, Joshua laid out the choice for Israel, but he did not try to coerce them. He simply set an example by his own choice and then let them decide for themselves. As well, maybe we should all study this question. What does serve the LORD mean? It means to submit (willingly put yourself under authority) to the LORD and do what He says. Another related question is this, how should we serve the LORD? The Apostle Paul helps us with the answer. RO 12:11 “Do not be slothful in zeal, be fervent in spirit, serve the Lord.” After all, our service to the LORD can’t possibly be described as lazy or disinterested. Right? The choice is yours. But, unless you intentionally choose to serve the LORD, you won’t be committed.
The third issue in commitment is how you see yourself. In fact, let’s address an important distinction. We are called to serve NOT as volunteers but servants to a master. By the way, the volunteer concept isn’t a biblical concept. We’ve taken something that is very secular and inserted it into the Christian psyche. The biblical concept of serving God is as the Apostle Paul advises bondservants.
COL 3:23 “Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, 24 knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ.” Should we not see ourselves as bondservants of the LORD?
The implication of Paul’s instructions to bondservants is that the Christian is always serving Christ. That’s right. In whatever we do, we serve Christ. To say again, servants of the most-high God are not simply volunteers. Granted, the secular concept of volunteering is noble in many cases but isn’t focused on serving God necessarily. In abundant circumstances, there is very little accountability. You sign up and come and go as you please. And, you’ll likely get a nice t-shirt as a memento. Your volunteer service may be important to you, but not always a priority. Volunteering is often something we do on the side. It is extra. In contrast, in the case of serving the LORD, it is always a priority. At least it should be. And that’s not all. It is a way of life. It permeates our thinking, schedule and budget. Added to that, because we see ourselves as servants of the most high God, we do what we do for His glory.
If you’re struggling with commitment it may be because of how you see the LORD, it may be because you haven’t made the intentional choice to serve the LORD and it may be because of the way you see yourself. As servants of the most high God, we must see the LORD as the great I AM. The God of Abraham Isaac and Jacob. The Rock of our salvation. Once you see the LORD for who He is, your choice to serve the LORD, submit to Him and do what He says, must follow. In addition to that, if you’re truly committed, you must see yourself as a servant of the most high God instead of a volunteer.
A Work in Progress,