Summary: Are you willing to honor your commitment to Jesus?

Did You Really Mean It?

Do you guys ever watch OETA ? I think it stands for the Oklahoma Educational Television Administration. On my Television it is channel 11. They have some shows you don’t get on commercial tv. I really enjoy a cooking show they have called America’s Test Kitchen. I have made some of the recipe’s from the show and picked up a lot of good tips on cooking. They use to run some British comedies on Sunday nights starting at about 10:30. I haven’t watched them for a while now but Brenda and I use to watch them every week. If you get to be a regular viewer of OETA it won’t be long before you tune in to find your regular programing interrupted by a pledge drive. They will have a telethon on in place of the show you were expecting to see and they will be taking pledges live on the air to keep the channel financially afloat.

They do a lot with old musical acts from the 50’s and 60’s. The old bands will get together and preform their old hit songs to help raise money for the station. If you pledge a certain dollar amount they will send you Cd’s of the performance. While the bands are playing a message scrolls across the bottom of the screen listing the first names and town where the donors live. You guys have all seen that scrolling at the bottom of the screen haven’t you? 100 form Pat in Vinita, 50 dollars from Ted and Mary in Oklahoma City, 200 dollars from the Agnes and Floyd in Claremore and it just keeps scrolling name after name town after town, it seems endless.

They really seem to do quite well with their pledges. I have always wondered what percentage they collect, I mean how many people that call in a pledge actually follow through and send the money. I have never called in a pledge and consequently I have never sent them any money. I’m one of those thousands of flakes that occasionally tune in and take advantage of their programming without paying for it. Just for fun, a kind of moral test of the human condition, I decided to call OETA and just ask what percentage of those pledges they actually collect. I didn’t know if they would share the information with me or not but I thought it can’t hurt to ask so I got on the computer and went to their web site, got their phone number off the Internet and gave them a call. For all you Deacons in the service let me assure you it was a toll free 1-=800 number. You don’t have to check the phone bill.

Anyway the folks at OETA were quite gracious with me and after being transferred to someone who deals with the telethons I was given the figure of about 80 per cent.

That seems pretty good to me given my understanding of the public as a whole, most people will follow through on what they tell you they will do. There is really no accountability to an OETA telethon pledge they may send you a few reminders in the mail if you don’t send it in but no ones going to sue you. They could run a message across the bottom of the screen during regular programing of the names of the deadbeats that don’t honor their pledges but that would probably be counter productive to the success of the telethons.

So when it comes to making pledges to public television about 20 percent of the people find it easier to pick up the phone and make the pledge than it is to actually get out the old check book and get a check in the mail. There are about 20 percent of the people who enjoy seeing their name scroll across the bottom of the screen more than they like sending in the money.

Before we stand ready to stone that 20 percent who refuse to honor their pledge perhaps we should consider how Christians honor their pledges. I am not talking about Christians that pledge financial support to OETA or even to Jerry’s Kids. I wonder what percentage of Christians honor their pledge to make Jesus Christ Lord and Master of their lives. If you are a Christian then you have pledged to surrender your life to Jesus Christ. I wonder what percentage honor that pledge. Paul calls us to honor our pledge as Christians in Romans 12:1

Romans 12:1 (NIV)

1 Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God--this is your spiritual act of worship.

When we become Christians we are to surrender ourselves to his will, his good and perfect will. Is that not the pledge we made to Christ as we surrendered our lives to Him? We are to offer ourselves up as living sacrifices. We are no longer our own but we have been bought with a price.

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