A Worldly Commitment Level
It has only been a few days since the New Year began,Â did you make any commitments for the next phase of your life? My commitment levels usually start strong then wane as time progresses. Schedules get tight and the world’s busyness often overwhelms us, in other words, life happens and it happens full force without any consideration forÂ our vows of commitment.
This past year about mid-year I committed to paint with a friend once a week,Â en plein air, a French word, meaning literally in the open air. So weekly since making this commitment we go somewhere outside and paint a few hoursÂ to capture the area we see in its glory, light, and emotion. My friend is a painter and I am not so the levels of commitment on this adventureÂ are quite different for both of us.Â He, now, has a vast amount of finished paintings many of which have sold and I, however, have a studio full of unfinished canvases. My level of commitment just isn’t the same as his.
Commitments do not have to be made to the level of this complexity, theyÂ can beÂ much simpler. Take for example that this week I have received countless emails informing me that this is the year to organize, de-clutter, and clean out my life. This sounds like such a doable commitment and one that will just make life so much easier however you can quickly become overwhelmed with all the advice on how to go about doing this. I decided to see how much information I could find on organizing my life through Internet resourcesÂ for the New Year.Â Upon doing this I gained anÂ incredible amount of resources to a tune of a mere two hundred and eighty-five million suggestions, all abundantly promising their information to be the most helpful for real organizationÂ in the year 2015. It was enough to decide to give up before I began.
It takes a lot to make a real commitment.Â A number ofÂ years ago, the Good News Broadcaster printed a letter that a missionary society wrote to the famous missionary and explorer, David Livingstone and asked, “Have you found a good road to where you are? Livingstone wrote back, “If you have men who will come only if they know there is a good road, I don’t want them. I want men who will come if there is no road at all.” Real commitment takes that level of dedication, to go no matter if there is aÂ road and to keep going even if you have to cut your way through forging a new trail.
This Tuesday marks the ancient celebration of the Epiphany. It recognizes the level of commitment that the Wise Men or Magi had as they left their home and searched for the Christ child until they found Him. It is one of the oldest Christian feasts andÂ celebrations that have consecutively occurredÂ since the end of the second century occurring even prior to the confirmedÂ establishment of the Christmas holiday. It officially marks the end of the ChristmasÂ holiday as it is the twelfth day of Christmas. It is a public holiday in many countries and much celebration will occur.
The Wise Men had a great commitment to find the Christ King. Even children understand this level of commitment as illustrated in a funny little story I read recently.
There was an art contest held in a local school during the Christmas season one year in East Texas. One of the prize winners was a picture drawn by a nine-year old boy showing three men, offering gifts to the baby Jesus in His manger. What made the picture unique is how the three gift presenters arrived; as there was a fire truck on the side of the picture.
The principal asked the boy about his decision to draw the truck and the boy, in his heavy East-Texas accent, was quick to reply, “Well the Bible says the wise men came from “a-far.”
Whether your wise men come from “a-fire” or “a-far” their level of commitment is greatlyÂ recognized. These men did travel a longÂ distance from Persia or China although their distance or nationality doesn’t matter just their commitment. The distanceÂ commitment levelÂ equals aÂ minimum of approximately 1000 miles as that is the distance from Persia to Bethlehem and takes about four months of travel on a camel. These men made aÂ solidÂ commitment and followed it through no matter what they may encounter.
This week let us all focus on commitment, as we look to the wise men’s level of commitment. Our focus verse about commitment is found in Matthew 2:2 b;
We saw His star as it rose, and we have come to worship Him. (NLT)
A Wise Man Commitment Level
The Wise men committed to follow a strange star andÂ some old prophesies so they could be involved with God. They knew it was important toÂ be part of something bigger than them. The star guided them so they could worship the Christ child with gifts and adoration as they believed it was important to worship God at all costs. People choose to worship Jesus forÂ different commitment benefits.
During Jesus’ time people followedÂ Him for many reasons; some did because they had immediate medical needs whether it was healing of the body or the mind, others came because they wanted to see the show.Â The disciples followed Him because they truly believed He was the Messiah, the son of God. Their commitment went above the physical, emotional, or selfishÂ needs to just be involved with the latest performance. The disciples loved Him and wanted a relationship with Him and this is why their commitment level was so high. We must ask ourselves what is our commitment level to Him? Are we committed to be His disciples? He has certainly committed to us.
Max Lucado illustratesÂ God’s level of commitment by becoming one of usÂ in his book, In the Eye of the Storm.Â He parallels this commitment by recounting the story of Dr. Evan O’Neill Kane’s discovery of local anesthesia onÂ February 15, 1921 in New York City.
The operating room of the Kane Summit Hospital on this day saw a doctor performing an appendectomy. Most of the events that led to the surgery were uneventful. The patient complained of a severe abdominal pain and the diagnosis is clear: an inflamed appendix. Dr. Evan O’Neill Kane, a thirty-seven year medical career veteranÂ performs the surgeryÂ much as he hasÂ conducted in the past onÂ the nearly four thousand appendectomies he had done in all ways except two.
The first ground breaking method of this operation is thatÂ local anesthesia is initiallyÂ used in a major surgery. Dr. Kane is an activist against all hazards of general anesthesia. He crusades that a local application is far safer. Most of his colleagues agree with him in principle but in order for the practice to be believable they will have to see more than just theory.
Dr. Kane attempted to search for a volunteer, a patient who is willing to undergo a surgery while under local anesthesia. A volunteer is not found with any great ease as most people are too afraid of the thought of being awake during their own surgery. Others feared that the anesthesia might wear off too soon but eventuallyÂ Dr. Kane finds a candidate.
So on this famous day the prepped patient isÂ ready and wheeled into the operating room and applied to the area of operationÂ is a local anesthetic. Dr. Kane dissects the superficial tissues and locates the appendix as he has done countless times before. He skillfully removes the infected appendix and finishes up the surgery. The patient complains of only minor discomfort during the procedure. The post-operative recovery and recuperation is as normal and Dr. Kane proves his theory demonstrating that local anesthesia is practical and preferable alternativeÂ for surgery.
There were two things about this surgery which make it unique. The first is the use of local anesthesia in a major surgery. The second is the patient. The very courageous candidate for the surgery by Dr. Kane was Dr. Kane.
To prove his theory, Dr. Kane operated on himself! The doctor became the patient in order to convince the patients to trust the doctor.
God made this commitment to us through the sending of His son to save us from our sins. God’s commitment level to us is beyond our comprehension shouldn’t our commitment level be returned? It begins with belief. (John 6: 60 – 71)
Mark Sanborn, acclaimed leadership speaker and author of The Encore Effect: How to Achieve Remarkable Performance in Anything You Do, suggests thatÂ there are six levels of commitment to achieve a remarkable results level. I have taken the six and repurposed them into how these levels of commitment can be seen in our commitment levels to God as a Christian.
Christian Commitment Levels
- Interested – Understand the concept of God and His word on a general level. Mediocre level of a Non-Remarkable CommitmentÂ – May occasionally attend church during special events if it doesn’t interfere with personal activities. This commitment level usually owns a Bible.
- Informed – This commitment level is more knowledgeable and intentionally studies God’s word at home or with others. Potential level of a Remarkable Commitment – Attends church more regularly and can be found there most Sundays. This level participant will seek studies of interest with the dedicatedÂ intention of learning more about God.
- Involved – This commitment level is more knowledgeable because completion of intentional studiesÂ along with activities increases the relational education. Evidence level of a Remarkable Desire Commitment – This level achievement participant is applying what they learn to their life. Seen are positive changes in this level committee’s life due to recognition that the commitment level in life needs to be for God and not ourselves.
- Immersed ”“ This commitment level is not only knowledgeable and shown through applied activities it stands out above others. A Remarkable Commitment ”“ This level of commitment achievement is notablyÂ desired by other God seekers. It is a level of firm unshakable foundation and a committed relationship with the Creator.
- Invested ”“ This commitment levelÂ sees a leader in the field of commitment. A Consistent Remarkable Commitment ”“ A level of commitment where tremendous time, full use of spiritual gifts, and continued dedication of an improving relationship with God is fully seen. This level of commitment participant is constantly seeking higher levels of relationship improvements and wants others to join them in their knowledge.
- Innovative ”“ This commitment level is not just a leader but a major leader. A Remarkable Commitment ”“ This high achieving commitment level doesn’t merely seek ways to build aÂ personal commitment with GodÂ but creates new ways to help others understand their own quest for a ”God Relationship”. This level is vastlyÂ invested in the great commission and will stop at nothing to achieve it.
When we view the levels of commitment it can challenge, convict, or motivate us to achieve more in our personal relationship with our Creator through His son, Jesus Christ, as our teacher. Ask yourself what is your commitment level now and then define where you want that commitment level to be at the end of this New Year. Make an immenseÂ commitment in your life this year to a daily interaction with God and continue to reach higher levels of commitment as you progress and move forward.
Happy New Year!
Love in Christ,
Just One More Thought;
Many people make resolutions for New Year’s I think we need to make commitments instead. Let this be the year for a personal high level of commitment with God because in the words of Brad Paisley,
Tomorrow is the first blank page of a 365 page book. Write a good one.
It is never too late to make this commitment so whether in January or July make the ultimateÂ commitment that will change your life permanently.
What do you think about commitments? Do you have a committed relationship with God? Do you struggle with your current commitments and the thought of adding one more thing to your schedule makes you cringe? Have you considered that our purpose on earth is to worship God and that our commitment level to Him should be the most important thing we do while we are here? Join us in discussion on God commitments or other related topics.