Contribution vs Commitment

chicken and pig

What is needed in the Christian world today is people who are willing to make a commitment! However, most of our churches are filled with people who are only willing to make a contribution! What is the difference between contribution and commitment? The answer is perfectly illustrated in a story I read recently in Tony Evans’ book: The Kingdom Agenda.” Evans writes: “I like the story of the chicken and the pig who were walking down the street one day when they came to a grocery store with a sign in the window that read: ‘Bacon and Eggs Desperately Needed.’ The chicken looked at the pig and said, ‘I’ll give them the eggs if you’ll give them the bacon.’ The pig stared at the chicken and replied, ‘No way!’ The chicken asked, ‘Why not!’ The pig replied, ‘Because for you it’s just a contribution, but for me it’s total commitment!”

That’s the way it is with many so-called Christians today! They willing to give God an “egg” here and there (church attendance and financial contributions) and they think they’ve given enough! But God is not seeking contributions; God wants total commitment! In Romans 12:1, the Apostle Paul wrote: “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.” (KJV) From this verse it is obvious that God wants total commitment, not just token contribution! The term “living sacrifice” is an oxymoron. If something is alive; it is not a sacrifice because in the Jewish sacrificial system, there could be not sacrifice given unless a life was taken. Therefore a “living sacrifice” is a call to present God a living dead thing! A life that is dead to self, sin and the world, but alive to God, the Spirit, and the will of God! Jesus described total commitment this way: He said, “If any man would come after me, let him deny himself, take up his cross and follow me daily!” In the days of Jesus, the cross was the instrument of death. Denying self and taking up one’s cross was a call to die! This call is echoed in one of my favorite quotes from Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s book: “The Cost of Discipleship.” Bonhoeffer wrote: “When Christ calls a man, he bids him, come and die!”

So the question today is this: Are you willing to only make contributions to the cause of Christ or are you willing to make a total commitment with your life? I believe God wants total commitment! He did no less for us! The record says: “For God so loved the world, that he gave His only Begotten Son!” The Son so loved that He gave his life! We ought to so love that we give our all in total commitment to Him! There are many Christians today who long for the power and peace that the Word promises, but their lives are filled with anxiety and fear! The reason for this lack of peace and power is the lack of commitment! The problem and the solution was well articulated by a song-writer of old:

You have longed for sweet peace,

And for faith to Increase

And have earnestly, fervently prayed;

But you cannot have rest,

Or be perfectly blest,

Until all on the altar is laid.

Is your all on the altar of sacrifice laid?

Your heart does the Spirit control?

You can only be blest,

And have peace and sweet rest,

As you yield Him your body and soul!



What Are You Giving Up For Lent?

lent is for lifeWhat are you giving up for Lent? This is a question that is being asked by many practicing Christians this time of year. I hadn’t given the question much thought until recently when it dawn on me just how trivial many have made the season of Lent. I mean, think about it! First of all Jesus said that when we fast we are not to make it public knowledge. In other words, the fast should be a private thing between the believer and God. Now, I know that there is some historical and biblical precedent for public fasting, but I think most modern Christians, particularly those in the West, really don’t understand the biblical concept of fasting. In the Bible, people fasted, not so much to give up something, rather to make themselves more available to God and for his service. However, many Western Christians are using this season to fast by giving up sodas, sweets, and other non-essential things in a vain attempt to identify in some small minute way with the sufferings of Christ. But can the suffering that Christ endured really be compared to the slight inconvenience of sodas or chocolate for forty days? We observe the season of Lent in such a trivial sacrifices, but I wonder are such small inconveniences really indicative of the real spirit of the season?

Jesus gave up his life, and we think we are really doing something special when we give up sodas for forty days? The call of Jesus involves more than just a ceremonial, trivial, token 40-day fast during the season of Lent. The Lord calls us to live a life of sacrifice! The dedication and perseverance that many display during Lent was not intended to be seasonal; it was intended to be a life-style!

Now, I am not advocating that there should be no fasting or sacrifices during Lent, all I’m saying is that I think we should be more serious about what the season really means. I think the spirit of the season would be better served, not just by giving up sodas for forty days, but rather by understanding Jesus calls us, not just to a season of sacrifice, but rather to a life-time of sacrifice and dedication!