Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Life Lessons

So I've been thinking a lot lately about commitment. It's a word that we toss around a lot and we think we understand. After all, we're supposedly "committed" to lots of things- our marriages, our churches, our jobs, our kids are "committed" to a number of activities, etc.

I've been thinking about commitment because my oldest daughter P has expressed great interest in joining a swim team. When she first learned to swim she looked like Phoebe on "Friends" in that episode where she is jogging through Central Park and Rachel is embarrassed to run with her. You know the one where she is flapping her arms and waving wildly. Thank goodness she has come a long way since then and has been told swimming would be something she could be successful in! So we, being the dutiful parents that we are, began to check it out.

In reading the "commitment" to swim on a team you see sentences like this:

Only for the most dedicated swimmers.
A commitment to the sport is mandatory.
Practice is 6 – 9 times per week with additional dryland work.
If attendance becomes irregular, the swimmer will be moved down a group.

Yikes! I have visions of our lives being consumed by driving back and forth to the pool, eating dinner in drive-throughs every night and being a slave to the calendar instead of having leisurely summers of little or no plans. So we have decided to wait on the swimming.

That is not to say we won't decide to pursue it another time, or another similar activity with one of our kids at some point. Because I really do get the equation: Dedication + Commitment= Success. It really does. The more you practice, the better you get. And I am in a profession that demands commitment so I really do get it.

But here's what I've been thinking.

What if we began to see that Dedication + Commitment= Success is really true in ALL areas of our lives. And what if we began to see that the success the world offers is SHORT-LIVED in comparison to eternity? And what if we took that same equation and applied it to our spiritual disciplines? What if our rules for the Christian life were written out for us like the swim team rules? What if they said this:

Only for the most dedicated followers of Jesus.
A commitment to studying scripture is mandatory.
Read the Bible 6 – 9 times per week with additional work any chance you get.
If church attendance becomes irregular, the Christian will be disconnected.

Now don't get me wrong. I'm glad that the Christian life is not a legalistic list of do's and dont's. But my point is this: If we took our spiritual lives as seriously as we take other wordly things that will not last, then we would have success that DOES last! Our rewards (success) would be the affirmation of our Creator when He looks at us and says "Well done, good and faithful servant." We would have the joy that comes from abiding in Him and a knowledge of His word that is applicable in every situation in our lives.

"I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus" -Phillipians 3:14

Success in this life does require commitment. But so does the gift of eternal life. It requires a full-out life-changing Jesus-following commitment.

So as I contemplate how I want to spend my time, I'm gonna go w/the long-term. To me that's a prize that's really worth it.



Anonymous said...

I really needed this today. Thanks, Lisa. :>


Sallie said...

Right in the heart is where you hit me. It hurt - but it needed to hurt! Thanks for being so honest!

Brittnie said...

Now, THIS is my kind of language!! I just talked about this on Sunday in my SS class. We looked at Luke 14:25-35 and talked about Costly Discipleship. As disciples of Jesus, we are either in this game or out. Too many believers are sitting on the fence. Thank you L, for speaking truth!!!

Jen said...

WOW!!! It's like being a professional Christian...and just think about the insurance and benefits package! Nicely said.

Rena Gunther said...

I just happened upon your blog...and LOVE it! I, too, am a mother of girls. I have a new blog....check it out in your "spare" time. ;0

Rena Gunther