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A PoWeR SuRGe of commitment

October 15, 2007

by Pastor Steve Thorson, Evangelical Lutheran Church, Cokato

“Do I make my plans according to ordinary human standards, ready to say ‘Yes, yes’ and ‘No, no’ at the same time? As surely as God is faithful, our word to you has not been ‘Yes and No.’ For the Son of God, Jesus Christ, whom we proclaimed among you was not ‘Yes and No,’ but in him it is always ‘Yes.’ For in him every one of God’s promises is a ‘Yes.’ For this reason it is through him that we say the ‘Amen,’ to the glory of God.” (Second Corinthians 1:17-20)

Do we shy away from commitments? Denver University’s Scott Stanley tells about his 6-year-old son who said “no” when asked to do something and added, “Yes takes too much time.”

Thank God that He clearly says “yes” to us! We can be thankful that God chooses to commit to us. Often, however, we, who are made in God’s image, have trouble committing ourselves.

Professor Stanley was one of the scientists who published a paper last year called “Sliding vs. Deciding.” He also wrote a book, “The Power of Commitment.”

Research shows we’re living in a “maybe I do” culture. A lot of us say “no” too often, and “yes” too seldom. This brings disaster to marriages, to families and children, and to communities.

In the church, our reluctance to make commitments means we lose spiritual power to accomplish what the Lord desires. When we do finally commit, the lost are found, the broken are healed, and the promise of eternal life through Jesus Christ is believed and treasured by more and more, to the glory of God.

The deepest, most joyous part of life requires us to make choices. This is true in our personal lives, such as in marriage, and in our spiritual lives. The example and inspiration for that comes from our Lord. Jesus loved the church and gave himself up for it (Ephesians 5:25). Because of that, we are to “be devoted” to the church as well (Romans 12:10).

A joyful and effective church requires clear annual commitments to prayer, worship, scripture, service, relationships and giving. In our church, almost 200 people made commitments for 2007. Our church, however, has several times that many people who are members and regular attenders.  What is holding them back?

Perhaps we need to hear and read some testimonials to the power of commitment. Can you share with others in your everyday life? What blessing has commitment brought to you and your family? Who made clear, unambiguous, public commitments to you? Your parents? Your teachers?

What inspiring stories can we tell about commitments to pray every day, worship every week, read and study the Bible, serve through the church, grow in Christian relationships, and generously give?

Our Lord does not waver. He promises to be with us forever (Matthew 28:20). As we depend on him, we will say “yes”!

Following our Lord in a PoWeR SuRGe of self-giving love, the blessings will flow.