In Matt.22:35-38 a lawyer (scribe) asked Jesus, “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the law?” Jesus replied, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the first and great commandment.” What does Jesus mean by this statement?
Let me illustrate what total commitment means with the following story most of you have probably heard before, about the hen and the pig. As the story goes, a pig and a hen were walking together when they come upon a hungry person. As they gaze upon the man in his predicament and wonder what to do, the hen turns to the pig and says, “Let’s feed him some breakfast? I’ll lay some eggs and you furnish the bacon.” The pig replies, “That’s a simple matter on your part, you just have to lay a couple of eggs, but with me it’s all or nothing.” That is what Jesus meant in His statement. God wants all of you, or nothing, that’s total commitment.
What does this total commitment mean? It means that one who is totally committed to God has entrusted with great assurance and absolute reliance his/her entire life and soul to the care and safekeeping of God and Christ. In other words the committed one has given them absolute control of all aspects of his/her life. This is what Paul meant when he stated, “…I am not ashamed, for I know whom I have believed and am persuaded that He is able to keep what I have committed to Him until that day” 2.Tim.1:12. He had no fear of losing his soul since He had committed it to Christ for safekeeping and was fully assured that He would keep his soul in perfect safety, regardless of what happened to him physically.
Some think they have made a total commitment by their perfect attendance to the regularly scheduled Bible classes, and the weekly Sunday services to take the Lord’s Supper where they also make a financial contribution to the church. These things are necessary, and prove a commitment, but doing these things just to do them is not the total commitment Jesus is teaching in his statement to the scribe. Doing these things show a love for God and Christ, but are poor substitutes for the real service God expects. Often they are more about a commitment to men and methods, and open the door to many human schemes that promote the physical rather than the spiritual aspect of serving God. The Jewish sacrifices were offered regularly to God, but through His prophets he told them He despised them. Why? Because their hearts were not in pleasing God, but in performing a duty imposed on them. Some would have thought by their regularity in these practices they were totally committed to God, but He knew different. Their thoughts were only in doing something, without thinking about why it was being done, or who it was being offered to. They were just going through the motions.
Just how committed are you? How committed are you to the Lord? Do you serve God full time or only when it is convenient? God isn’t looking for part-time help, He is looking for full time disciples. Total committed to God is on a full time basis, all or nothing. Being a disciple means a lifetime of serving Him Matt.16:24-25; 20:27.
How committed are you to His Word? Totally committed to Christ means obedience to His commands 1.Jn.2:3-5. Yes, I know we cannot keep them perfectly, no one can. We cannot earn salvation, but we have to try as hard as we can to do everything we know to do and then depend of God’s grace and mercy to save us as He has promised Matt.7:21-23; Heb.5:9; Col.3:17. That is why we must continually study, meditate and practice His word 2.Tim.2:15.
How committed are you to His church? The church, the body of Christ was paid for with His blood. He is the head, and has revealed the pattern for His church. This pattern is found in the NT. He designed His church to be separate and distinct from the world in which it exists. Yet some do not respect the pattern and want to change the design to fit their desires. Others say they want Christ without His church, but it is impossible to be committed to Christ without being a part of His body. How concerned are you in making sure the brethren where you worship seek to adhere to the pattern found in the word of God 2.Tim.13. So many today seem they can play fast and loose with the His body, the church for which He shed His blood to purchased Acts 20:28.
Let me illustrate what I have been trying to write about total commitment by our singing? When we sing we are to sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs, praising God and teaching one another Eph.5:18b, 19; Col.3:16. When we sing these songs we are to sing with the spirit and with the understanding 1.Cor.14:15. Do we think about the words as we sing them? Let’s see.
A woman by the name of Frances Ridley Havergal lived during the last half on the 1800s. She was a weak and sickly child and unable to attend school on a regular basis. Her father paid for her to travel to replace some of the education she missed. In 1858 while visiting friends in Dusseldorf Germany she visited a museum and viewed a painting of the crucified Christ. Over the crown of thorns was written “This have I done for thee; what hast thou done for me?” That evening she wrote a poem which was later put to music. That happened around 1858 and her career as a song writer began. Before her death in 1879 at the age of 42 she became known as “England’s most famous woman hymn-writer.”
We sing that song today, “I gave my life for thee.” (#340 – Hymns For Worship). This song teaches us to think about how our commitment to Christ compares to His commitment on our behalf. In addition to that song there are at least two other songs written by Havergal that we often sing. Each of them teach the needed total commitment to serve God and Christ acceptably. The songs are. # 98 “True hearted-Whole hearted,” and # 128 “Take my life and let it be,” in Hymns for Worship. Take the time to look at the words of these songs and take the words to heart. If we sing these songs from the heart while we are singing them we will be singing about what total commitment to God really means. Tommy Thornhill