5/12/19

What would it take to make you lose or reduce your commitment to something, or to someone? Two men from New York City grew tired of the rat-race and daily-grind of their life and decided to sell everything and buy a ranch in Texas and start over as farmers living off the land – neither of them had any idea how to run a farm.  They bought a ranch in Texas and decided that they need a mule to plow the field.  So, they visited their neighboring rancher to see if he had one to sell. “Unfortunately, I don’t.” he told them.  They were disappointed, but visited with the rancher a few moments and noticed honeydew melons stacked next to the barn and asked, “What are those?”  The rancher decided to have some fun with the two and told them, “They are mule-eggs.  You take one home and wait for it to hatch and you will have a mule.”  The two were thrilled and bought one of the mule-eggs, and carefully, loaded the “egg” in the back of their truck and drove off heading down the bumpy country road.  Suddenly they hit a large hole causing the honeydew melon to bounce up and out of the truck and land in the middle of the road where it burst open.  The two saw what happened and drove to the next driveway, turned around and hurried back to get their mule-egg.  In the meantime, a large-eared Texas jackrabbit hopped out to the broken melon and stat down in the middle of the mess and began eating.  As the two men drove up, they saw the jack rabbit with his long ears sitting in the middle of the broken melon and with great excitement exclaimed, “Our mule egg has hatched! Let’s get our mule” They dashed toward the rabbit, which panicked and took off in circles as the men desperately tried to catch their “mule”. But the rabbit was too quick and eventually was able to escape and hopped away.  Exhausted, one said to the other, “Well, I guess we lost our mule.” The other nodded, “Yes, but you know, I’m not sure I wanted to plow that fast anyway!”  What does it take to make us lose or reduce our commitment to something, or to someone?

The six weeks between Easter and Pentecost is the time of the year when Christian disciples, are invited to reflect on what it means to be resurrection people. How does our daily life reflect the resurrection of Jesus in the ways that we live, love and share the grace of God?  Today, we continue with our Easter-season series of messages titled Attitudes of Grace. What sort of “attitude” do we exude every day as a Christian disciple? We have already considered having an attitude of a living sacrifice trusting in Christ everyday for everything we need.  On this Mother’s Day weekend, let’s consider how having an attitude of grace strengthens our daily commitment to trust in Jesus every day – not just for mom’s but for every person.

For most, a mother’s love is immediate, unconditional and unbreakable. A mother will stand with us, and by us, through thick and thin.  Their commitment to us is timeless, selfless and sure. A Mother’s commitment is a beautiful reflection and illustration of God’s committed love for every child.  Commitment is the act and the daily process of trusting or entrusting.  While we make all sorts of levels of commitments (short-term, long-term, heavily or lightly invested), every commitment has a starting place that begins a journey of trust.  A marriage, for instance, is a commitment that has a starting place (wedding day) that requires a daily commitment or re-commitment thereafter.  The same holds true for our Christian faith too.  It involves a start and daily commitment.  But, if we are not careful, we can allow our faith to cool and fairly quickly, we can forget why we even made a commitment in the first place.  What does it take to make us lose or reduce our commitment to something, or to someone?

In today’s scripture reading, Paul tells Timothy to “be strong”!  This is where commitment begins as a disciple of Jesus.  Notice Paul says, “Be strong.” He does not say “Hang in there.”  Christians don’t hand – we stand.  If troubles come our way, we stand because we have a committed savior who stands with us in all sorts of trials and tribulations.

Paul uses three illustrations to emphasize daily commitment to Jesus. All three involve commitment when circumstances and experiences of life may cause us to want to give up and run away.   In many ways these can be three faces of a mom too

1. A Soldier’s commitment: Paul tells us that the soldier remains obedient to a higher authority.  How is our obedience to God these days? Perhaps our level of commitment to God is low because our obedience to him is low.

A young woman gave her boyfriend a beautiful famed picture of herself with these words written on the back, “I love you and am yours for all eternity! PS: If we ever break up, I want my picture back!”  What does it take to make us lose or reduce our commitment to something, or to someone?

2. An Athlete’s commitment: Paul reminds us that the athlete is disciplined for victory. To be disciplined means that a person is willing to give up and make sacrifices in order to win the prize or victory. What are we willing to give up in order to gain? Former College Football coach, Lou Holtz once said that there is a difference between being committed and involved. The Kamikaze pilot who flew his second mission was involved, but not truly committed! What does it take to make us lose or reduce our commitment to something, or to someone?

3. A Hardworking Farmer: Paul reminds us that the farmer’s commitment comes from the hope of the harvest. A farmer’s work is never done. There is always something to plant, weed, water, fix, replace, improve, feed, clean, plow, fertilize and on and on. The daily hard work of the farmer feeds not just his family, but others as well.

The Christian life is always going somewhere.  It is not without a goal or purpose.  The same with our commitment to Jesus Christ – it involves obedience, discipline and hope.  It is always going somewhere.  Be strong in the Lord! We can be certain that the attitude and effort of our daily commitment to growing faith in Christ will bring us the joy of heaven now and forever. Happy Mother’s Day and thanks Mom, for your loving commitment to us!