January 12, 2023

What Is Commitment?

Don’t you see that you can’t live however you please, squandering what God paid such a high price for? The physical part of you is not some piece of property belonging to the spiritual part of you. 1 Corinthians 6:19, The Message

A certain farmer, deeply touched by the revival which had taken place in his community, decided to dedicate a section of his farm to the Lord. Choosing a piece which was somewhat marshy and not terribly productive, he felt reasonably smug in his decision. After all, he had done something for the Lord, and he didn’t expect the cost to be very great.

Shortly after that, however, coal was discovered on the parcel, and immediately the value of the plot which had been dedicated to the Lord increased by 10 fold. “Lord,” he prayed, “I gave you the land; however, the coal should be mine.” Then, thinking about his stinginess, he repented and said, ‘OK, God, I gave you the land. I guess you own the coal as well.’”

The next year he noticed a slight scum or slime on part of the marshy ground which he had given to the Lord. A local geologist identified this as an oil scum, and an exploratory well brought up black gold. Now the property was worth a great deal more than he had ever imagined possible. Again, he battled his conscience, thinking that surely he was entitled to some of this windfall—at least, a finder’s fee. But finally he was able to say, “Lord, I gave you the land and I gave you the coal. Now, I’m giving you the oil as well.”

Shortly after oil production had begun, uranium was discovered near the vein of coal which had caused the whole problem. Now the relatively small plot of land was worth 1,000 times what it was when the farmer gave it to the Lord. He wanted to kick himself for being so generous in turning this over to the Lord! Now he really faced a dilemma, but in the end he said, “Lord, when I gave you the land, I gave you everything on the surface, everything above the surface, and everything beneath the surface. It’s yours, not mine. Issue closed.”

Almost every person who says, “I’m Yours, Lord,” faces this very issue in some form or another. Two New Testament words defined the ownership-relationship between a believer and God: the term, servant, and the term, Lord. Paul spoke of himself as a servant of Jesus Christ, and from the moment of his conversion, he considered Jesus Christ to be his Lord.

Under Roman law a servant owned nothing. What he possessed, in reality belonged to his master or Lord. It was his to use, but never to abuse. When Paul wrote to the Corinthians he said, “Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God? You are not your own” (1 Corinthians 6:19).

Those last five words, “you are not your own,” indicated God’s prior claim on those whom He had redeemed. Included in that group were business people, families, singles, and youth, all of whom had become believers in Jesus Christ as the result of Paul’s ministry there.

It includes you, as well, friend, if you have become a Christian. Commitment is your willingness to realize God has a prior claim on your life and acknowledge that what God has given to you, not simply the coal or oil on your property but your minds, your talents, and your time, all belong to God as well.

The story of the farmer who struggled, wanting to reclaim part of what belonged to God, is the story of every person almost every day. The answer? Say, “Lord, I’m Yours today! You have all there is of me, so let’s do something together that will be lasting and worthwhile.” Oswald Chambers used to say, “Let God engineer!” And when you give Him that authority, recognizing He has all there is of you, it’s amazing what happens. Of that, I am sure.

Resource reading: 1 Corinthians 6