I home school – and I’m down to our last child. Home schooling gives unique opportunities to those who learn there, and to those who facilitate there. One of those opportunities is to read books that you would not have in your hands in the public school.
Daughter Crysta has just finished reading “In His Steps” by Charles M. Sheldon. This book is over 100 years old and yet it still holds relevance to today’s church. The book is a fictional outlay of an idea that Sheldon preached in his own church. The interesting thing is that Sheldon, himself, was a Christian Socialist, and did not stress personal redemption from sin in Christ. No, Sheldon – true to Socialism itself – was all about the practicalities of living a moral life. While I don’t ascribe to this form of teaching, I do love what this book says about being a disciple of Christ. *Update: Thanks to dmark for his comment below. I was not suggesting with this post that socialism is about living a moral life. As I commented to him, I appended information from another source “mid-thought”. What I meant to say here was that Sheldon was a socialist. His book was not about confronting sin, or redemption from Christ, but about applying Christian standards at a socialist level in order to even the playing field in a moral manner. Reading the book, you can clearly see Sheldon’s socialist leanings.
For those who haven’t read this timeless classic; an out-of-work printer – living as a hobo – came into the church of one Pastor Henry Maxwell. He challenged the people of the congregation to explain what their singing truly meant…. what did it mean when they sang about taking up the cross and following Him. The hobo could not see how that was happening. All he could see was a group of well dressed, finely fed “Christians”.
The hobo dies, and the pastor is so pressed by the Holy Spirit that he comes to his congregation and asks for volunteers to live a life dedicated to living in a manner they personally deemed Jesus would live. Each decision was to be prefaced with the question, “What would Jesus do?”
There were guidelines for this dedication that I will leave for you to read in the book. My point of this blog is not to regurgitate the book to you. However, there is something in the last chapter of the book I want to share with you. It is powerful. It is thought provoking. It is something I would ask you to chew on – as I know I am chewing on it.
The passage follows the continuation below. I hope you will take time to read it.
Tonight has been quite blessed. Barry and I spent time together watching Dennis DeYoung on PBS, and we are now listening to the video feed of Dr. Al Mohler speaking from Grace Community Church at the Shepherd’s Conference.
Have a wonderful weekend in the Lord.
Here is how Merriam-Webster dictionary defines commit:
Middle English committen, from Anglo-French committer, from Latin committere to connect, entrust, from com- + mittere to send
transitive verb1 a: to put into charge or trust : entrust b: to place in a prison or mental institution c: to consign or record for preservation d: to put into a place for disposal or safekeeping e: to refer (as a legislative bill) to a committee for consideration and report2: to carry into action deliberately : perpetrate 3 a: obligate, bind b: to pledge or assign to some particular course or use c: to reveal the views of intransitive verb1obsolete : to perpetrate an offense2: to obligate or pledge oneself
— com·mit·ta·ble \-ˈmi-tə-bəl\ adjective
synonyms commit, entrust, confide, consign, relegate mean to assign to a person or place for a definite purpose. commit may express the general idea of delivering into another’s charge or the special sense of transferring to a superior power or to a special place of custody . entrust implies committing with trust and confidence . confide implies entrusting with great assurance or reliance . consign suggests removing from one’s control with formality or finality . relegate implies a consigning to a particular class or sphere often with a suggestion of getting rid of .
To me, to commit is to give your word to do something. And when you give your word, you aren’t saying “I’ll try.” or “I’ll give it a shot.” When you give your word, to me, you are saying “You can trust that I will do what I am saying.” When I give my word to you, that’s exactly what I am saying to you. Trust is, IMHO, the key to commitment.
Are there circumstances that stop us from fulfilling our commitments? Of course there are. I find, as a child of God, that my commitments find their “fulfillment factor” in whether it is a commitment that is in His will. There have been commitments I have made that I was not able to fulfill. There are times (although, thanks be to God, not many) I have had to go to the person I made a commitment to and tell them it was not within my power to be able to fulfill my commitment to them. For me, this is hard. Because, to me, commitment is about trusting the person who says they will do something to do it. Break commitments on a regular basis, and that trust foundation erodes.
So, why am I writing about this? Good question, thanks for asking! I’m writing about this because I need to remember what commitment looks like. I need to remind myself that I MUST think about my commitments before entering them. Sometimes you have to look at what you are committing to – or asking someone else to commit to – and consider the “fulfillment factor”.
Sometimes you have to say “No” to a commitment. No matter how much you wish you could do it. No matter how much you know it will hurt another to say it. No matter how (much) it costs. I am not a proponent of hurting others, but I know it can hurt more to commit or be committed to, knowing at the onset you are not able to/or want to fulfill it.
Commitment is NOT the big easy. Commitment unfulfilled can leave a huge wake. Chances are you may not be aware of it – because a wake by nature is not felt as strongly by the person making it as the people coming behind them. I neither want to create a wake with my commitments, nor be behind someone leaving a wake with theirs.
Much is going to happen in the next few days for me. I have been praying that God will show me which commitments I should make, and which I should say “No” to. I ask your prayer for spiritual maturity and wisdom… these are not light-hearted commitments, they are major. And they involve other people’s lives.
No matter what, God IS in control of my life.
At His Bosom,
is such an interesting concept. A blogger who has recently affected my life hugely at a personal level wrote:
“It’s so funny, isnt’ it? We think things can be going along so well and then BOOM! Suddenly. Suddenly, the rug gets pulled right out from under your feet.”
I don’t think this quite covers what has been/is going on in my life right now. Yet, I am sure these words were written for exactly this circumstance. I am numb, violently mad, and still shaking. However, there is ONE thing I am sure of – God is with me, and He is not surprised at my current situation.
This, and only this, will get me through this current season – regardless of how long it lasts.
I covet your prayers for wisdom, discernment, spiritual maturity, a forgiving heart and strength. However God moves you to pray for me, it will be cherished as a blessing.
Back in January I had hernia surgery. I was supposed to have plastics done on my ab too, but insurance fell through and it was not something we could just afford to put “on the card”. I have been touch and go on exercising since then. More “touch” than go, I must admit. I made a mind commitment last week to start going back to the gym. It stayed in my mind for the entire week! This morning, however, I dreamed I was turning off the alarm and getting up. Then I dreamed it again, and again and even a fourth time! By now I was more than just half awake. Lying in bed, I was like “Okay God, if I’m supposed to get up and go, give me some reason to do so!” Right then Lily, our cat, jumped on my stomach and started clawing! Not kneading, but clawing! I jumped out of bed to the mental sounds of “Here’s your sign!” and got hubby up and moving.
So, in 20 degree weather, we have started going back to the gym. Today was the first day, but I’ve got to admit it felt good. And it felt even better to shower, get all lotioned up, and be dressed and ready to face the day by 6:30 a.m. I’m going to have to remember that tomorrow morning, when it’s 7 degrees outside and I’m snug and cozy in my bed.
Hope your day is great.