I received Jesus as my Lord and Savior becoming a Christian in 1977. Prior to that, I was just a confused part-time religious person. When I sincerely gave my life to Jesus, His Holy Spirit came to live within me – something the Bible says is true of everyone that receives Jesus. I soon understood why Jesus said, “You must be born again.” It was like seeing life through God’s eyes and perspective for the first time in my life. Bible verses came alive and my entire perspective of life changed. I was a new person.
After I had been a Christian for about two years, I discovered something very important about myself. I learned that I didn’t know or understand the meaning of the word commitment. Unless and effort had a paycheck or a personal benefit attached to it, there was no commitment. To make commitments to anything that did not personally benefit me didn’t happen.
I was as faithful and committed as one could be to a job. I took my first job at the age of 11 as a paperboy – something I did for three years. I had to deliver papers every day of the week and I did–faithfully! That conscientious effort carried over into the workplace. I worked faithfully in a grocery story for my boss for over four years. He would say I was his best employee because I was faithful. When it came to a job with a paycheck, I was faithful. When it came to making commitments to anything else, I was fickle. I just didn’t want to give away any more of my free time on a committed basis to anyone for any reason.
That carried into my early adult years. When it came to the paycheck, I was a hard worker. When it came to a commitment in anything else, I was still fickle. When I became a Christian at the age of 24, I started to love coming to church. The Bible opened up a whole new world to me. I heard great preaching about serving and using my gifts for God. I wanted to but I was paranoid of giving up free time in order to make a commitment to serve. There was no paycheck to motivate me!
As time went on, I started to feel convicted about the need to use whatever gifts I had within me in committed service within the local church for the Lord. The thought of committing volunteer time almost sent me into anxiety attacks. The thought of committing myself to a schedule to serve at something was agonizing to think about. Again, I learned something about myself when I finally took that first step. I learned that following through on a commitment was important to me. Doing what I said I would do was important. I was amazed at myself. I was surprised that I enjoyed being committed to serving others. It wasn’t a hardship and I didn’t feel robbed of my time. I felt like I had greater purpose in life and what I did was rewarding because I could see that it benefited others. I sincerely learned the words of Jesus “It is more blessed to give than to receive.” (Acts 20:35)
What I continued to learn about myself over the years was this: my life is richer in a multitude of ways when I have boxed myself into a commitment where the needs of others are dependent on what I do for them. Without this commitment, I seem to want to get lazy and stay in a kick-back mode which eventually works an increasingly selfish attitude within me.
Over the years, I have talked to many others that have also said they have learned this secret. They’ve also discovered the satisfaction and fulfillment in being blessing to someone else and more. They’ve said it has helped purge them of selfishness, helped refine their character, and continues to draw out, reveal, and develop gifting they never knew they had. They all agree that commitment stretches them and causes them to mature into a more complete and Christ-like person. God knows that we will be blessed if we discover this secret for ourselves and so He exhorts us in Hebrews 10:24, “And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds.”
Again, it says, “Let us consider…” For me, I considered it a long time ago. I have made it a practice to box myself into serving others for over 30 years. I depend on the grace of God to help me. I pray that my example speaks louder than preaching. I pray it helps others. I know it helps develop the gifts of God in me and helps me grow! And it is far more rewarding than a paycheck!
1 Peter 4:10 (NLT) “God has given each of you a gift from his great variety of spiritual gifts. Use them well to serve one another.”
In His Love,
Pastor Tim Burt
Published by Pastor Tim Burt
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