Tag Archives: commitment

Not A Mite Would I Withhold

Take my life and let it be
consecrated, Lord, to thee.
Take my moments and my days;
let them flow in endless praise,
let them flow in endless praise.

Take my hands and let them move
at the impulse of thy love.
Take my feet and let them be
swift and beautiful for thee,
swift and beautiful for thee.

Take my voice and let me sing
always, only, for my King.
Take my lips and let them be
filled with messages from thee,
filled with messages from thee.

Take my silver and my gold;
not a mite would I withhold.
Take my intellect and use
every power as thou shalt choose,
every power as thou shalt choose.

Take my will and make it thine;
it shall be no longer mine.
Take my heart it is thine own;
it shall be thy royal throne,
it shall be thy royal throne.

Take my love; my Lord, I pour
at thy feet its treasure store.
Take myself, and I will be
ever, only, all for thee,
ever, only, all for thee.

Words by Frances R. Havergal, 1874
Music by Henri A. C. Malan, 1827

 


I am the Lord your God; consecrate yourselves and be holy, because I am holy.
Leviticus 11:44

A certain ruler asked him, “Good teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?”
“Why do you call me good?” Jesus answered. “No one is good—except God alone. You know the commandments: ‘You shall not commit adultery, you shall not murder, you shall not steal, you shall not give false testimony, honor your father and mother.’”
“All these I have kept since I was a boy,” he said.
When Jesus heard this, he said to him, “You still lack one thing. Sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.”
When he heard this, he became very sad, because he was very wealthy.
Luke 18:18 – 23

Jesus sat down opposite the place where the offerings were put and watched the crowd putting their money into the temple treasury. Many rich people threw in large amounts. But a poor widow came and put in two very small copper coins, worth only a few cents. Calling his disciples to him, Jesus said, “Truly I tell you, this poor widow has put more into the treasury than all the others. They all gave out of their wealth; but she, out of her poverty, put in everything—all she had to live on.”
Mark 12:41 – 44

Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship.
Romans 12:1

So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.
1 Corinthians 10:31

And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.
Colossians 3:17


 

 

When I was young I was a member of the the 4-H organization. Now for those who are unfamiliar with 4-H, it is largest youth development organization in the United state, with focuses on citizenship, healthy living, science, engineering, and technology programs.

We would have regular meeting which always began with formal opening ceremonies. One of the items that was part of these ceremonies was reciting the 4-H pledge. It goes:

“I pledge my head to clearer thinking, my heart to greater loyalty, my hands to larger service, and my health to better living, for my club, my community, my country and my world.”

As 4-Hers seek to develop citizenship, leadership, responsibility and life skills of youth, they pledge the 4-Hes (Head, Heart, Hands, Health) to that Goal. It is basically an abbreviated way of saying they are going to “give it their all.” In a similar way, Francez Havergal in her hymn, “Take My Life and Let It Be” lays out an “all in” commitment to following Christ.

The hymn begins by saying, “Take my life and let it be consecrated, Lord, to thee.” To be consecrated is to be set aside and dedicated for a sacred purpose. The call in the hymn is to set aside our very lives as dedicated to God’s purpose. This should draw our minds to Leviticus 11:40 where we read ,”I am the Lord your God; consecrate yourselves and be holy, because I am holy.”

So Havergal begins to list piece by piece our commitment to following Christ. But it is not just our commitment to give these things to serve Christ, but our prayer that He will make use of them.

As we sing through this hymn, the line that stick with me is “Take my silver and my gold; not a mite would I withhold.” This is not because it is a financial commitment, the fact is that the others are commitments of my very body and being which are for more profound and desired by God. (Micah 6) What strikes me is the phrase, “Not a mite would I withhold.” We are to be all in.

I am drawn to the images of two of Jesus encounters. In Luke 18:18 – 23 Jesus speaks with a rich man who was unable to give up all he had to follow and instead walks away. In Mark 12:41 – 44 Jesus observes a poor woman put two coins in the offering and tells His disciples that she had given more than anyone else, because she gave all she had.

We are called to give everything, our money, our body and our minds to serving Christ, but it is not something to be taken lightly. We are to be consecrated, set aside, dedicated. So when we realize the magnitude of the prayer of consecration we can join with others and say, “Take myself, and I will be ever, only, all for thee.”

 

 

Read more about “Take My Life and Let It Be.”

A Divided Heart

It is easy for us to see a blatant opposition to God and to call it what it is. It is not, however,  so easy to see a divided heart. A heart that seeks God, but also seeks other desires.  A heart that, in reality, places God as simply one of many things being pursued.  In I Kings 11 verses 4 and 6 we see that this was Solomon’s issues.  It says “his heart was not fully devoted to the LORD” and “he did not follow the LORD completely.”  So we must ask ourselves, “Do we seek after God while pursuing our other desires?”  “Do we find that we are following God, but not ‘fully?'”

A divided heart occurs when we let other things crowd in, keeping us from focusing on God alone.  In the full passage we see that Solomon allowed his desire for women, for political alliances and other things to enter in and that these led to his divided heart.  But how do we avoid this?  Ironically, Solomon himself warns of this in Proverbs 4:23 “Above all else guard your heart, for it is the well spring of life.” Our heart is the source of all that we do.  As the heart goes, so goes the person.  So we must ask ourselves, “What do we let into our hearts?”

Take time to examine your heart.  What things are cluttering it up?  (popular culture, music, fashion, television, friends, etc.)  Are these things drawing our attention away from God and dividing our hearts.  Solomon’s life shows us that such divisions lead to disaster.  Ask God to help you clear the clutter from your heart and to keep him first and foremost.  When you do this, you will be reminded of the words of the old hymn.  “Turn your eyes upon Jesus, look full in His wonderful face.  And the things of earth will grow strangely dim, in the light of his glory and grace.”

Let me acknowledge that much of my source for this article can be attributed to a sermon given by Dr. Steve Mathewson of the Evangelical free Church of Libertyville.

New Year’s Resolutions


I have been pondering the idea of New Years resolutions. They have a long history going back to the early Roman Empire and continuing though today as detailed in the article “Resolutions Worth Keeping” by Chris Armstrong, found in Christian History magazine.

Now if we are all honest, at some point in our lives we have probably taken part in making New Year’s resolutions. These resolutions often include such things as loosing weight, exercising more, eating healthier, spending time with family and friends and being nicer to people.

There is, of course, nothing wrong with these resolutions. But how do our resolutions usually work out. If we chooses to loose weight, odds are we binge on food through December 31 under the idea that we will suddenly change on January 1. And what happens after January 1. We may do well for a day, for a week or even a little longer, but then comes that day when it slips our mind and without thinking we eat that thing we shouldn’t have. We then see ourselves as having failed. Often we say, well, since I have already eaten this, I will just take the rest of the day off and start up again tomorrow. We continue this way for a while, slipping here or there and restarting each time until we finally say, “what’s the point?” “I keep stumbling.” So we end out pitching the whole resolution.

So what is the problem. First we treat January 1 as though it has some kind of magical powers. We think we can do whatever up until midnight and then we will magically gain the ability to resist what we have been indulging in. This is like deciding that we are going run a marathon without having prepared and trained for it. It is not just the date or even our decision that will make the difference, but we must also change our habits and this is something that is not done over night. It takes time. We can not realistically think that we are going to change overnight, even if it is a “New Year.”

Second, we to quickly see a stumble as a failure and give up. But stumbling is not a failure, it is a chance to grow. It is from these experiences that we better learn to deal with temptations and bad habits. How do we grow, by correcting the error immediately. When we say, well I will continue this for the rest of the day and start again tomorrow, we are actually rewarding our stumbling, making it easier and easier each time we stumble to just let it slide. Soon it even becomes easy to justify a conscience decision to violate our resolution. We need to realize that stumbling only becomes failure when we do not pick ourselves back up and continue on.

It is the same way with the sin in our lives. We live a life indulging in our personal sins (over eating, drunkenness, pornography, sexual sins, etc.) and then think we can just put these things behind us the day we make a commitment to God that we are going to change. (Yes, I have heard the stories of the life changing conversions. The heroin addict who came to faith and the addiction was miraculously cured. I also believe that while this can happen, it is the exception and not the rule.) We need to accept that change is going to be a process and that it may take a long time. There is no magic pill that will make it all go away overnight. There will be times that we stumble, but what do we do with those stumblings? Do we make excuses? Do we use it as an opportunity to indulge? Or do we correct the behavior immediately? Do we pick ourselves up and move on?

You see, a resolution is not a one time thing. It is an ongoing commitment. In a world were we want, and to often get, things instantly, we need to slow down and accept that things take time. That changes will not just happen, but rather that we will need to work for them.

But remember this, we do not need to do this alone. We find accountability and support in friends and family. And for those of us who know Jesus as our personal Savior, we find our strength in him alone.

So as you take time to make your resolutions, think about those things that really matter. Think about those things that will not only improve your life, but improve your relationship with God as well as others. And realize that you are setting out on a journey that may well last the rest of your life.

“So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God”
I Corinthians 10:31