Summary: A challenge to dedicated life and ministry.
The most needed ingredient in the Church today is dedication.
WHAT IS DEDICATION?
There is this story about the hen and the pig. The hen and the pig were walking together and they were meditating on the question "What is the meaning of commitment?". As they were walking and talking they got hungry. The hen said to the pig: "Let’s have breakfast and eat ham and eggs." But the pig answered: "To you this may be commitment but to me that means sacrifice."
Why is that so? Because to make ham and eggs, one needs a couple of eggs. And from the hen’s veiw it’s not a big sacrifice. However the pig has to sacrifice itself in order to give some ham for the ham and eggs. So this is what commitment really is: "Complete devotion to something."
This is what our commitment should be, indeed.
In order to please God we must completely commit ourselves to Him (2 Timothy 2:4):
No one serving as a soldier gets entangled in civilian affairs - he wants to please the one who has chosen him to be a soldier. (This text is a literal translation from the Bulgarian Bible.)
In what way this comparison between the Christian minister and the soldier shows us what our commitment to God should be? This comparison illustrates three basic reasons that lead us to full commitment to God:
* "No one serving as a soldier" is the expression that reveals the nature of our ministry. It is a ministry of a soldier.
* "He does not entangle in civilian affairs" speaks about the commitment that our ministry requires. We must be completely devoted to God, and do not involve ourselves in the worldly things.
* "He wants to please the one who has chosen him to be a soldier." This reveals our motivation to fulfil our ministry. We do it because we want to win the favour of the One Who has chosen us for our ministry.
WHAT ARE CHARACTERISTICS OF SOLDIER’S MINISTRY?
1. It’s a ministry that could be described as "complete separation from the world".
When a soldier joins the army he is completely separated from civilian life. When he steps over the threshold of the barracks, all his friends, family, home - everything that civilization means - remains behind his back. And there in the barracks his lifestyle changes completely. Every day he gets up early in the morning, his activities change, he finds new friends. So, there is great difference between civilization and the army. When a soldier joins the army his life completely changes and he is entirely separated from the civilian life.
When we join the army of God, we have to leave everything of this world behind our back. John 12:25-26 says:
The man who loves his life will lose it, while the man who hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life. Whoever serves Me must follow Me; and where I am, my servant also will be. My Father will honor the one who serves Me.
When we come to Jesus we leave the world behind us. We set ourselves apart from this world and we start to follow our new Lord completely.
In Luke 14:26,33 Jesus says,
If anyone comes to Me and does not hate his father and mother, his wife and children, his brother and sisters - yes, even his own life - he can not be my disciple. In the same way, any of you who does not give up everything he can not be my disciple.
We must deny everything we have and we must leave the world behind us. This is the ministry of the soldier. His ministry is characterized with total separation from the world.
2. The soldier’s ministry is a ministry of one who has been called.
This is someone on whom a summons has been served. You know that when someone has to join the army, a summons is served on him. He receives a special card from the military authorities telling him to show up at a certain place and get ready for the army.
In the same way God has called us to serve Him. We are His soldiers because He has enrolled us in the list of His soldiers. He has called us by name. In 1 Peter 2:9,10 it says that we are a chosen generation. God has chosen us. He has called us “out of darkness into His wonderful light". God has enlisted us in His army of soldiers. John 15:16 says:
You did not chose Me, but I chose you. Hallelujah!
In 2 Timothy 1:9 we read:
God has saved us and called us to a holy life - not because of anything we have done, but because of His own purpose and grace. This grace was given us in Christ Jesus before the beginning of time.