24th January 2013

How’s Your Commitment?

“For thus says the Lord God of Israel: ‘The bin of flour shall not be used up, nor shall the jar of oil run dry, until the day the Lord sends rain on the earth’. So she went away and did according to the word of Elijah; and she and he and her household ate for many days.”
1 Kings 17:14-15 (NKJV)

So Pontin’s holiday camps have called in the receiver. For long-term church members in this fellowship that will recall memories of when we used to spend our Autumn Festival at one of the holiday camps.

Frankly, it was a different age. No modern church-member would put up with the conditions we endured, willingly, for our 8-day festival. I well recall one year lying in bed, shivering from the cold and damp, and seeing the stars through the shingle roof above me! Not even a tiled roof, this was wooden shingles. But we need to remember those chalets were made for summer conditions when an airy shingle roof was a good idea—letting out the excess heat. And we seemed to have long hot summers in those days.

I cured the cold by drinking half a bottle of mead before going to bed. The fermented honey in it, plus the alcohol kept me warm all night. I have never touched mead since.  Of course, we’re all considerably older, and creaking bones and aching muscles have replaced the enthusiastic ignoring of physical discomfort of the young.

But it does make you wonder as to our level of commitment today. In the past we put up with such things because we wanted to be there. We wanted to hear the messages; we wanted to be in fellowship with each other. We planned and saved all year to have the means to be there. We travelled long distances without complaint. There was an excitement and a dedication that, in general terms, is not found today.

Is that because we have fallen out with God, our church, with Christianity itself? I don’t think so. I think it has more to do with the many distractions found in this modern world. Wall to wall shopping, television channels ad-nausium, radio, books and magazines, not to mention the www. They all take a toll on our waking hours. And God rarely comes first it would seem. I would suspect, were I fly on the wall in the homes of many Christians, that God doesn’t even come second or third in our day. He takes his place after almost everything else, particularly if the Christian has pressing work, financial, family and other problems. Once these have been solved, we reason, I’ll have time for God.

I’m afraid it doesn’t work that way. Think of Elijah and the widow of Zarephath. His advice to her was to feed me first and then feed yourself and your son. And as a result of seeking God’s will, all her pressing problems (as far as food anyway) were solved for “many days”. She was a pagan, not an Israelite; she may have had only dim ideas as to what this God Elijah was introducing to her was like. But she listened and changed her behaviour. The advice to “Seek first the kingdom of God” doesn’t gel with the modern Christian, and, truly, we pay a fearsome penalty in our lives as a result.

Most merciful Father, our enthusiasm may have mellowed over time into familiarity, but help us, please, to maintain our personal commitment to you and the Christian way of life. In Jesus’ name we pray.

Study by John Stettaford

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One Response to “24th January 2013”

  1. tony shevlane on January 25th, 2013 8:52 pm

    Our ‘commitment’ John in those days was motivated in some degree by fear.Fear of supposedly sinning if we didn,t attend.That’s what legalism induces,fear! We had to do to please a God who would bang us over the head if we stepped out of line.
    Thankfully those days are long past. Now we obey because we love Him as children who obeys a loving parent.

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