Fresh Manna 20009© by Pastor Tim Burt
Heb 10:24 “And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds”
I've been a Christian since 1977. 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 word commitment unless it had a paycheck attached to it. I was as faithful and committed as could be to a job. My first job was being a paperboy for three years beginning at the age of 11. I had the biggest paper route in our local area. I had to deliver papers every day of the week and I did –faithfully! That conscientious effort carried over into the workplace. I lied about my age when I was 14 years old. I told the local grocery store owner I was 16. He hired me. Two years later at age 16 (he thought I was 18) he made me assistant store manager. I fessed up at that age and told him the truth. I think he knew my real age but didn't care 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 23, I started to enjoy 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.
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 in was difficult to say the least. I learned something about myself when I finally took that first step. I learned that following through on 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 commitment and serving others. It wasn't a hardship and I didn't feel robbed. I felt like I had greater purpose in life and what I did was rewarding because I could see that it benefited others.
What I learned about myself over the years was this. I function well when I have made a commitment - 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.
I have talked to many others over the years that have also said they have learned this secret. And they’ve discovered that not only does it help them be a blessing to someone else, but that it helps to purge them of their own personal selfishness, it refines their character, and reveals and develops hidden giftings they never knew they had. They all agreed that commitment stretched them and caused them to mature into a more complete person.
Today's Fresh Manna says “And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds.” For me, I considered it along time ago. I now make it a practice to box myself into serving others. 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 me grow!
In His Love,
Pastor Tim Burt
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