You know who are committed? Smokers! Today I drove by two nursing home type places who have obviously banned smoking on their property and employees were camped outside several yards past the properties to smoke in the freezing cold with temperatures in the teens this morning here in West Virginia. Now that is commitment! To walk several hundred feet, to stand outside in the cold, and all to smoke a cigarette.
Bad habit? Yes! Some think even nasty habit? Yes! Bad for you and your health and the health of those around you? Yes! But, you have to admire the commitment people make to their habits. Smoking, chewing, dipping snuff, etc..or even addictions to drinking, gambling, pornography, drugs, etc...though there are many extremes to these habits, even addicts are committted.
I wish I could say the same thing for christians. A smoker will walk several feet and stand in the frigid weather just to smoke, and yet self-proclaimed christains won't commit to walk next door to invite a neighbor to church, will miss church for the lamest of excuses, and won't even take time to serve in the local church, but yet there they are in the concession stand at little league 3 nights a week, keeping notes as secretary at the local rotary club or social club, or will get up at 4:30am in the morning to go hunting, go shopping, or travel, and can't make it to a 11am sunday worship service?
Commitment! I think the chain smokers are on to something. They at least commit to their bad habit. Can christians not commit to their Lord? Their faith? Their church body? Who is Lord or your life? Sports? The golf course? The shopping mall? The computer? The TV? The almighty dollar? The Lake? The kids? How about Jesus Christ? We want to the luxury of being a part of His family, we want his forgiveness, grace, mercy, and help in our hour of need, but when we don't need anything or want anything from God or His church, then we are back to being fair-weather fans, ocassional christians, and we'll show up and help or serve if we don't have anything better to do if it don't rain or our dog doesn't have a cold.
Ok, so maybe I am being a little sarcastic, but the point is clear, we make strong commitments to many things including our bad habits, but does our Lord and Savior not deserve so much and more? We all fall short, we all sin, and that is a given, but at the same time, we also must not take our grace, salvation, or faith for granted. God needs faithful members of His church to show up and worship, serve, give, and be salt and light in our communities.
He also just doesn't need people punching a time clock or getting gold stars on an attendance chart, coming to a church service is not doing God a favor or checking off of your weekly spiritual "to-do" list for your hour a week. God desires a committed relationship with you. However, we leave God holding the bag, we want him to do all the work in the relationship, or we want to use you, take advantage of Him or use him like an ATM or Vending Machine for our needs/wants.
I hope you can learn a lesson today from the unlikliest of people. the smoker. They may have a bad habit they need to kick, and they may be slowly killing their bodies, but at least they are committed to something. Shame on us is a a bad habit, a social organization, sports team, or restaurant has more committed members, fans, or patrons, than God.
God needs committed, faithful, and loyal followers, believers, and doers! Let's show the world that we take our faith serious. Let's be in church and be faithful in our part. Not just attending, but being the church and being in a committed relationship with Christ.
So, because you are lukewarm—neither hot nor cold—I am about to spit you out of my mouth.