The True Meaning of Commitment
In this InSight study we are going to examine the true meaning of commitment.
Note this illustrative quote:
Consider the postage stamp, my son…
Its usefulness consists in its ability
to stick to one thing
until it reaches its destination.
Which of the following references best describes a commitment?
A. The act of doing or performing some task
B. The consignment of a person to a prison
C. To promise, or pledge, to bind yourself to a certain course of action until it is completed
In considering this question, some might think that B is the best answer.
Actually, all the references are correct; but each in a different way.
Answer C however, will be the one we will primarily focus our attention on in this study.
Notice what is written in a conversation between Jesus and a Lawyer:
And, behold, a certain lawyer stood up, and tempted him, saying, Master, what shall I do to inherit eternal life? He said unto him, What is written in the law? how readest thou? And he answering said, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind; and thy neighbour as thyself. And he said unto him, Thou hast answered right: this do, and thou shalt live. But he, willing to justify himself, said unto Jesus, And who is my neighbour? Luke 10:25-29
After the lawyer’s last question, Jesus told the congregation of an event that had recently occurred in their area:
And Jesus answering said, A certain man went down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell among thieves, which stripped him of his raiment, and wounded him, and departed, leaving him half dead. And by chance there came down a certain priest that way: and when he saw him, he passed by on the other side. And likewise a Levite, when he was at the place, came and looked on him, and passed by on the other side. But a certain Samaritan, as he journeyed, came where he was: and when he saw him, he had compassion on him, And went to him, and bound up his wounds, pouring in oil and wine, and set him on his own beast, and brought him to an inn, and took care of him. And on the morrow when he departed, he took out two pence, and gave them to the host, and said unto him, Take care of him; and whatsoever thou spendest more, when I come again, I will repay thee. Luke 10:30-35
The scene unfolds with a man (bruised, beaten and bloody) laying on the side of the road. We don’t know his name or nationality, only that he was seriously injured (half-dead) and abandoned by his attackers.
Next we see a priest (a minister for God) and then a Levite (one of God’s chosen servants) passing by… neither of them stopping to help.
Both seem to have forgotten their commission from the Lord regarding strangers:
For the LORD your God is God of gods, and Lord of lords, a great God, a mighty, and a terrible, which regardeth not persons, nor taketh reward: He doth execute the judgment of the fatherless and widow, and loveth the stranger, in giving him food and raiment. Love ye therefore the stranger: for ye were strangers in the land of Egypt. Deuteronomy 10:17-19
But the stranger that dwelleth with you shall be unto you as one born among you, and thou shalt love him as thyself; for ye were strangers in the land of Egypt: I am the LORD your God. Leviticus 19:34
The Lord had said that even the animals of an enemy were to be cared for:
If thou meet thine enemy’s ox or his ass going astray, thou shalt surely bring it back to him again. If thou see the ass of him that hateth thee lying under his burden, and wouldest forbear to help him, thou shalt surely help with him. Exodus 23:4, 5
In Luke 10:33 we are introduced to another traveler… a Samaritan.
But a certain Samaritan, as he journeyed, came where he was: and when he saw him, he had compassion on him… Luke 10:33
The Samaritan too comes upon the suffering man, but we see him doing something quite different:
- He came to where the man was
- Took time to look at him
- And… exhibited compassion
It was a dangerous neighborhood the Samaritan was passing through. To slow down, or stop, at that point, could mean he might end up becoming the next victim.
Also, before the injured man could be moved, some pre-hospital emergency medical treatment had to be given …
And went to him, and bound up his wounds, pouring in oil and wine, and set him on his own beast, and brought him to an inn, and took care of him. Luke 10:34
Then the victim was placed on the most available ambulance (a donkey) taken to an Inn (a place to recover), where the Samaritan continued to assist him.
We certainly would commend someone for doing such a thing; but in those days it was not only unusual…it was dangerous!
Would you be willing to be such a caregiver?
Consider what the Samaritan had to do to help this stranger:
- Risk his own life (become fully involved)
- To change his own travel plans (be inconvenienced)
- Use his own provisions to care for someone else (make an investment)
- Offer immediate medical treatment (exercise special skill)
- Donate his own transportation (and walk the rest of the way)
- Find a place for the man to recover (locate the Inn)
- Continue to care for the injured man through the night (keep working)
As if this wasn’t enough… the next morning:
… when he departed, he took out two pence, and gave them to the host, and said unto him, Take care of him; and whatsoever thou spendest more, when I come again, I will repay thee. Luke 10:35
- He had to find someone else to continue caring for the injured man (Ask for help)
- He left 2 days wages as a down payment for the help (Spend more money)
- Promise to return (Come back again) AND…
- Pay any remaining expenses (Make another investment)
It seems there are, perhaps, some questions that the Samaritan never thought to ask; questions that might have made a difference in the outcome of this experience:
1. Who’s fault is it that this man has come to such injuries? Maybe he deserved what he received.
2. Is he worth all of the inconvenience, time and effort offering help is going to cause me?
3. I don’t know this man… Why should I get involved in his personal problems?
4. What about my life and safety… Who’s going to watch out for me?
5. This effort may end up costing me a lot of time and money.
But these thoughts never took hold in his mind. He saw a need, and made a true commitment of himself, to see the experience through to the end, no matter what the outcome would be.
His priorities and God’s priorities were in complete agreement.
Have you ever seen God’s priority list for life?
You can find it in Exodus 20:1-17
Priority #1 (Put God first above all)
And God spake all these words, saying, I am the LORD thy God, which have brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage. Thou shalt have no other gods before me.
Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth: Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the LORD thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me; And shewing mercy unto thousands of them that love me, and keep my commandments.
Thou shalt not take the name of the LORD thy God in vain; for the LORD will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain.
Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days shalt thou labour, and do all thy work: But the seventh day is the sabbath of the LORD thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates: For in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the LORD blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it. Exodus 20:1- 11
Priority #2 (Next comes… the Family)
Honour thy father and thy mother: that thy days may be long upon the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee. Exodus 20:12
Priority #3 (Followed by… your Neighbors)
Thou shalt not kill.
Thou shalt not commit adultery.
Thou shalt not steal.
Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbour. Exodus 20:13-16
Priority #4 (And then your Neighbor’s… Things)
Thou shalt not covet thy neighbour’s house, thou shalt not covet thy neighbour’s wife, nor his manservant, nor his maidservant, nor his ox, nor his ass, nor any thing that is thy
neighbour’s. Exodus 20:17
There is an order here that shouldn’t be changed! When people try to re-arrange the list, life has a way of becoming very complicated.
Think about it…
Like the unnamed, injured, traveler, in this world we also have been wounded, and left by the side of the road to die… There was nothing we could do to save ourselves, and many passed us by… until Jesus came along and provided all the help we needed.
Unlike the Samaritan, however, the commitment He made cost Him His life. But, the results for us are eternal:
… he [Jesus] was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed. Isaiah 53:5
… God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. John 3:16
With the Lord’s help it would be nice to find a way to make this study of commitment one of joy, instead of difficulty… to bring out the blessing in helping others, instead of looking only at the sacrifices.
This is what Jesus was able to do, and what we need to do also:
Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God. Hebrews 12:2
Notice that it was for the joy Jesus saw coming… not the immense suffering He was passing through… but, for the joy that was set before Him… that He continued on through the whole terrible ordeal of Calvary… for you.
He could truthfully say to His Father near the end of the experience: …I have finished the work which thou gavest me to do. John 17:4
Jesus completed the work that was promised.
There’s often a need with commitments to make a full investment of your time and of yourself… along with much hard work… sometimes pain and great inconvenience… sometimes, even more…
Yet I do believe, that in the case of the Samaritan who stopped to help the wounded man, he went on his way with a deep feeling of satisfaction for having taken care of one who was really in need. Jesus felt the same.
That feeling can be yours too as you reach out to help a soul in time of need.
Pray that we may always be willing to help others in difficult times. And may the Lord help us to consider the eternal value and importance of commitments.
Have you made any commitments lately? Why not make one today?
If you liked this study, you might be interested to visit this link to The Greatest Miracle of Jesus.
This article was written by Chris Teske
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