by Chris Lopez
There was an occasion while I was looking at the Subang Jaya bulletin board when I was serving as a preacher and this short story caught my attention. A farm chicken and a pig wanted to show their appreciation to their loving and caring farmer. They agreed to have eggs and bacon. The pig realized much later than the farm chicken was making a contribution while the pig was making a commitment that would cost his life. The pig should have thought about this more carefully before agreeing with the farm chicken.
The Widow’s Two Mites
Luke 21: 1-4 – “And He looked up and saw the rich putting their gifts into the treasury, and He saw also a certain poor widow putting in two mite. So He said, “Truly I say to you that this poor widow has put in more than all; for all these out of their abundance have put in offerings for God, but she out of her poverty put in all the livelihood that she had.””
The observation of Jesus was that the rich were making their offering (contribution) while the poor widow gave her livelihood.
She had that trust and confidence that God will provide, so without any hesitation and doubt, she gave. That is commitment.
Commitment begins with Love
Mark 12: 30, 31 – “And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength.’ This is the first commandment. And the second, like it, is this: ‘You shall love your neighbour as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.”
After love, we must seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness (Matthew 6:33). Do we have the attitude that we want to first have some kind of firm security and finish our responsibilities before we venture into serving Christ and the church? I have seen that this attitude will never bring us to the point of making a commitment as there is always something more important or urgent that has to be attended to.
The Rich Young Ruler
Mark 10:17–24 – “Now as He was going out on the road, one came running, knelt before Him, and asked Him, “Good Teacher, what shall I do that I may inherit eternal life?” So Jesus said to him, “Why do you call Me good? No one is good but One, that is, God. You know the commandments: ‘Do not commit adultery,’ ‘Do not murder,’ ‘Do not steal,’ ‘Do not bear false witness,’ ‘Do not defraud,’ ‘Honour your father and your mother.’ And he answered and said to Him, “Teacher, all these things I have kept from my youth.”
Then Jesus, looking at him, loved him, and said to him, “One thing you lack: Go your way, sell whatever you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, take up the cross, and follow Me.”But he was sad at this word, and went away sorrowful, for he had great possessions.
Then Jesus looked around and said to His disciples, “How hard it is for those who have riches to enter the kingdom of God!” And the disciples were astonished at His words. But Jesus answered again and said to them, “Children, how hard it is for those who trust in riches to enter the kingdom of God!””
The rich young ruler trusted in riches that it hindered him from making a commitment to God. He was comfortable where he was and giving up his riches was not in the equation as his attachment to riches was very strong which is similar to those mentioned in Luke 8: 14 – “Now the ones that fell among thorns are those who, when they have heard, go out and are choked with cares, riches, and pleasures of life, and bring no fruit to maturity.” This is where we see some kind of contribution but there is a lack of commitment that leads to bearing fruit.
We are warned in Mark 8: 36-37 – “For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul?”
Ananias and Sapphira
Acts 5:1-11 – “But a certain man named Ananias, with Sapphira his wife, sold a possession. And he kept back part of the proceeds, his wife also being aware of it, and brought a certain part and laid it at the apostles’ feet. But Peter said, “Ananias, why has Satan filled your heart to lie to the Holy Spirit and keep back part of the price of the land for yourself? While it remained, was it not your own? And after it was sold, was it not in your own control? Why have you conceived this thing in your heart? You have not lied to men but to God.”
Then Ananias, hearing these words, fell down and breathed his last. So great fear came upon all those who heard these things. And the young men arose and wrapped him up, carried him out, and buried him. Now it was about three hours later when his wife came in, not knowing what had happened. And Peter answered her, “Tell me whether you sold the land for so much?”
She said, “Yes, for so much.”
Then Peter said to her, “How is it that you have agreed together to test the Spirit of the Lord? Look, the feet of those who have buried your husband are at the door, and they will carry you out.” Then immediately she fell down at his feet and breathed her last. And the young men came in and found her dead, and carrying her out, buried her by her husband. So great fear came upon all the church and upon all who heard these things.”
This couple was killed because they lied to the Holy Spirit. Many of us can fall into the same category of making commitments with our mouths which our hearts may not fulfil. This may not be done intentionally but we can sometimes forget our commitments. In this way, we may deceive those around us and ourselves as well. Ananias and Sapphira were looking at contributing financially to the work of the Lord but they did not fulfil the commitment that they made to God, thus they lied not to man but to God.
We have to ask ourselves are we true to our commitment we made to God when we surrendered our will and made a commitment in serving Him wholeheartedly or have we lost our first love. It is time to renew our commitment to Christ. God bless us all as seek to please God and do His will.