Summary: We live in an overinvolved and under committed church culture. Hear the words of Jesus speak to this truth.
Commitment Versus Involvement
* It’s an old story: The chicken and the pig were talking in the back lot one day. The chicken said, “We have a great life here.” The pig responded, “Yes, it’s nice.’ The C: “Our farmer takes great care of us. He feeds us & gives us a great place to live.” The P: “Yes, it is all really good.” The C: “I would like to do something good for him.” The P: “That sounds okay. Sure, why not?” The C: “Let’s give him a ham and egg breakfast in the morning.” The P: --silence---. The C: “What’s wrong with breakfast?” The P: “For you, that’s involvement. For me, that’s commitment!”
* I am a New Orleans Saints fan, die-hard! However, I have always pulled for Peyton Manning. In 2010 the Super Bowl was the Saints versus the Colts. It seemed my decision of who to pull for was “HARD.” Contrast that with this: When the Saints play the Falcons – NO PROBLEM! This is kind of like the “Auburn-Alabama” game. The lines of support are clearly drawn.
* Today let’s have a conversation about two concepts which seem to be confused in the 21st century Americanized church. Were we to publicize this like a game, it would be “Commitment Versus Involvement.” I list ‘involvement’ last because it seems to be home!
* It seems to be home team with the home field advantage. People are involved to the hilt today. Dancing, cheerleading, football, baseball, soccer, church, basketball, and more, all head the list of the over abundance of things which consume the time of people. To be involved is to stay with it as long as “YOU ARE GETTING” something out of it and are happy with what you are getting. We are a ‘getting’ society because by nature, we are a getting people (and we better like what we get or we’ll get somewhere else to get something else.)
* In fact, when you are only involved, just let something go wrong and while you may not quit on the spot, you will begin to be less involved, you’ll develop a wondering eye for some other organization, activity, or group, who can give YOU something else that you like or want.
* When it comes to our relationship with God and serving in His church, we need to keep one thing in mind: JESUS NEVER CALLED ANYONE TO AN ‘INVOLVEMENT ONLY’ STATUS. Jesus does not ask for, He requires, “Commitment.” Commitment is entirely different.
* Commitment is a promise, a vow, and an obligation. Commitment makes demands. Real commitment is the pig providing ham for breakfast; it requires us to give all that we have and are.
* In America, we have spent 25 years redefining commitment. In 1990, George Barna wrote an insightful book entitled, “The Frog in the Kettle” which was based on that 9th grade science lesson. Listen to some of his findings after surveying Americans:
1. The divorce rate is climbing: half of all new marriages end in divorce
2. Adults feel that they have fewer close friends than did adults in past decades
3. The proportion of people willing to join an organization is declining in relation to churches, labor unions, political parties, clubs and community associations.
4. Book clubs and record clubs are less likely to attract new members when multiple year or multi-product commitments were required.
5. The percentage of adults who sense a duty to fight for their country, regardless of the cause, has dropped.
6. The percentage of people who commit to attend events but fail to show is on the rise
7. Today’s parents are less likely to believe that it is important to remain in an unhappy marriage for the sake of the children than they were 20 years ago.
* A last thought before we look at our text: The real tragedy of today is that we have raised one to two generations of children who define their worldview with these truths. They know nothing of the ‘till death do us part’ type of commitment.
* Make no mistake; our Lord God demonstrated authentic commitment to us and for us in the cross. Sending Jesus to the cross said, “I’ll see it through no matter how much pain I bear.”
* Commitment and involvement are great rivals. See how this plays out in the words of Jesus. Luke 9 is an interesting chapter because it records two occasions where Jesus was attempting to impress on His hearers (& His readers) about involvement versus commitment. He gives us 2 types.
1. Artificial Commitments – First, let’s look at Luke 9:57-62. (READ) You know what artificial is. It is something that looks real, but honestly it is a bad imitation. This is what we see in the words of Jesus. 3 types.