Convenience or Commitment?

 For those of you who spent some time in college, you may recall being assigned several books to read for one of your courses, and realizing that at your reading speed and with other homework you would never be able to do it, you found summaries of the books to read, saving you lots of time. (I, of course never did such a thing!).  Or, maybe you want to rewatch one of your favorite TV series but don’t want to spend the time that would take. Well, you can go to “The Minisode Network” launched in June 2007 by Sony Pictures that offers condensed versions of many of the favorite series previously broadcast such as “Different Strokes,” “Jeopardy,” “Who’s the Boss,” “Charlie’s Angels,”  or “The Partridge Family.” You can watch an hour-long episode in 4-6 minutes! They advertise it as “The shows you love–only shorter.” It is all to make our life more convenient.

      Now, in some locations, you can even attend “drive-in Church” services on your way to the mountains or the lake or the ocean or the golf course. Or you can attend church some evening during  the week to free up your weekend–all to make it more convenient for you. I mean, after all, you don’t want to take this Christianity thing too seriously. There are just too many other things in life that take up your time. Many attend a religious service at whatever church makes them most comfortable. They may give a small offering and are kind to fellow church-goers, but definitely don’t want to get involved. They are much too busy living their lives, what with their jobs, family needs, work-outs at the fitness center, community involvements, sporting activities, need for recreation and time away, etc. So, giving one, or at the most, two hours to the “spiritual part” of their lives is even stretching themselves pretty thin.  And even regular church attendance isn’t always “convenient.” Whatever can be done to make it easier to squeeze in is much appreciated.
     Unfortunately, that is the life of many professing Christians in our country today. Why, I can remember when families attended Sunday School and Worship services on Sunday morning and then came back for an evening service, and even attended a mid-week prayer service and probably a home Bible study sometime during the week, and, oh, yes, maybe a work-day on Saturday occasionally and… I guess you get the picture. Some might say, “Oh, but we had more time back in those days.” Really? I guess the days have gotten shorter!  What has gotten shorter isn’t the number of hours per day but our commitment. For a majority today, Christianity is just a matter of convenience, not a matter of consecration and commitment.
     But that is surely not how it is presented in the Bible. Being a disciple of Jesus Christ is a lifestyle, and not a Sunday-only convenience. It calls for giving up our lives for Him. “Jesus said to His disciples, ‘If anyone wishes to come after Me, let Him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me. For whoever wishes to save his life shall lose it; but whoever loses his life for My sake shall find it'” (Mt. 16:24,25). The Christian life is to be one of commitment. It is about living as Jesus calls us to live, daily giving up our plans and purposes for His. A personal relationship with Him causes us to be concerned with our thoughts, decisions, attitudes, and actions. It is not just a couple-of-hours-a-week thing. It is total commitment to be a Kingdom Builder for our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, who gave His all for us. As a chorus goes, “After all He’s done for Me, after all He’s done for me. How can I do less than give Him my best and live for Him completely, after all He’s done for me.”  Our Christianity is to affect every area of our lives and be the moving force behind all our decisions and activities. Jesus said we are to “Seek first His kingdom and His righteousness…” (Mt. 6:33). The Apostle Paul said, “Set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth…And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through Him to God the Father…Whatever you do, do your work heartily, as for the Lord, rather than for men”  (Col. 3:2,17,23).  
     If Christianity to you is just a token commitment (also known as a “convenience”), then you will put in your hour or two on Sunday and live for self the rest of the week. If Christianity to you is a genuine commitment, then you will live for the Lord at work, putting Him first in your thoughts and relating Him to all that you do.  You will be available to whatever He has for you, and be ready always to share a reason of the hope that is within you (I Pet. 3:15).  When you stop and meditate on what our Savior has done for us and is doing for us, how can you help but want to be, as Paul and Timothy, “bondservants of Christ Jesus” (Phil. 1:1). “If Christianity is important at all, it is all-important. If it is anything, it is everything” (Billy Graham).  If God’s people were as dedicated to His agenda, as the radicals are to theirs, we would fulfill the Great Commission in one generation!  But, “We live in a church today where comfort and convenience have replaced conviction and commitment” (Dr. Joseph Stowell).  “If Jesus Christ be God, and died for me, then no sacrifice can be too great for me to make for Him” (missionary/pastor C.T. Studd cf II Cor. 5:14,15).
     What is Christianity to you, a convenience or a genuine commitment?
 
                            Forever His,
                                Pastor Dave
    
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About Pastor Dave

Until my retirement 2 years ago, I pastored an independent Bible church in Northwest Montana for nearly 38 years. During that time I also helped establish a Christian school, and a Bible Camp. I am married and have children and grandchildren. The Wisdom of the Week devotional is an outgrowth of my desire to share what God is doing in my life and in our world, and to challenge you to be a part.
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