(September 30, 2017) Missionary statesman George Forbes issues a three-fold challenge…
Committed – the word has real meaning to me as a Christian, husband, father, grandfather and great grandfather. Also as a member of my church and then generally as a citizen of Australia, and of groups in my community.
The Encarta dictionary says that commitment means responsibility, loyalty, obligation, dedication, a willingness to give your time and energy to something that you believe in, or have promised Commitment is what transforms the promise into reality.
A committed person, especially a committed Christian person, has a power and influence that can only come from commitment to God, to his word and will. I will seek to cover at least in a limited degree the particular fields of commitment we must respect and follow.
Commitment to God must come first. I believe the commitment to one’s family must come second. I learned that lesson the hard way, but with my precious wife Nancy’s encouragement, I learned that family must come before ministry.
- God first
- Family second
- Ministry and service for God third (leading to community commitment).
1. Christian Commitment (to God)
Jesus gave clear commitment instructions in Matthew 6:33, ‘But seek first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.
And in Mark 12:30-31, ‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength. This is the first commandment. And the second is like this: You shall love your neighbour as yourself. There is no other commandment greater than these.’
2. Family Commitment
The clear instructions of the word of God must be our guide as we consider and make of commitments to our family. The instructions are very clear, so there is no excuse for misunderstanding. I begin with husbands. Our role is very responsible. The way we love our wives must be of the same nature as the love Christ demonstrated for his church.
We are to love our wives, as we love ourselves. Nothing less will be pleasing to God. The scriptures are explicit in Paul’s Ephesians letter to this church. Equally, they are specific to wives in his letters to Timothy and in Peter’s first letter. And Jesus made it very clear that children were special to him (Matthew 10:14).
‘Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church and gave himself for it’ and ‘Men ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself.’ (Ephesians 5:25, 28).
‘Even so their wives are to be reverent, not slanderers, temperate, faithful in all things’ (1Timothy 3:11) and ‘Likewise, wives, be in subjection to your own husbands, so that if any do not obey the Word, they may also be won without the Word by the conduct of the wives’ (1Peter 3:1).
‘But when Jesus saw, he was much displeased and said to them, Allow the little children to come to me and do not hinder them. For of such is the kingdom of God’ (Mark 10:14) and ‘And fathers, do not provoke your children to wrath, but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.’ (Ephesians 6:4). 3.Also ‘Children, obey your parents in all things, for this is well-pleasing to God’ (Colossians 3:20) and ‘I rejoiced greatly that I found your children walking in truth, as we have received command from the Father’ (2John 1:4).
3. Church Commitment
- Hebrews 10:25, ‘Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as a custom of certain is , but exhorting, and so much the more as you see the day coming near.’
- John 20:19, ‘On that same first day of the week, when it was evening and, for fear of the Jews, the doors of the house where the disciples were, were locked, Jesus came and stood in their midst, and said to them, “Peace be to you!”.’
- 1 Corinthians 16:2, ‘On the first day of every week let each of you put on one side and store up at his home whatever gain has been granted to him; so that whenever I come, there may then be no collections going on.’
- Acts 20:7, ‘On the first day of the week, when we had met to break bread, Paul, who was going away the next morning, was preaching to them, and prolonged his discourse till midnight.’
4. Community Commitment
- Titus 3:1, ‘Put them in mind to be subject to principalities and powers, to obey magistrates, to be ready to every good work,’
- 1Peter 2:13-14, ‘Then be in obedience to every ordinance of men, because of the Lord, whether to a king as supreme, or to governors as sent by him for vengeance on evildoers, but for praise on well-doers.’
- 1Ti 2:1–2, ‘I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men; For kings, and for all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty.’
- Matthew 5:43-44, ‘You have heard that it was said, “You shall love your neighbour and hate your enemy.” But I say to you, Love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who despitefully use you and persecute you.’
If we as followers of Christ will honour our commitments, recognising that we need the grace of God, and his wisdom and guidance daily, we can fulfil these commitments to God, to our family, to our church, and to our community.
Never forget, that without him we can do nothing. With him, all things are possible.
Dr George Forbes is internationally recognised as a missionary statesman with a heart for the lost of the nations. With a wealth of missionary knowledge and a unique ability to communicate the global picture, he is widely known as the ‘story-teller.’ Link: firstname.lastname@example.org