Summary: While most people agree to the importance of commitment, do believers really believe the importance of complete commitment to Christ?
Twenty-nine years ago tomorrow, January 10, there was quite a football game in Cincinnati, OH between the San Diego Chargers and the Cincinnati Bengals. This was the AFC Championship Game. The Bengals won that game as they defeated the Chargers 27-7. That, however, was not what is most remembered about that game. The nickname for that game was The Freezer Bowl. The reason it was given that name was because it was extremely cold. The air temperature got up to minus nine degrees with a wind-chill of minus thirty-seven degrees. There was a lot of commitment shown in that game – from both teams, just to show up and play! The week before the Chargers played in Miami where the temperature was a balmy eighty-eight degrees. Well, some would say those players had to play – it’s their job. What about in the stands? What about those fans that braved that weather to watch that championship game? They showed real commitment to the game. Some would differ and say they showed definite signs of insanity – especially those who took off their shirts!
Commitment is important in many areas of life besides sports. Commitment is important in marriage. Commitment is important in accomplishing a job or in having a successful career. Commitment is important in raising children.
As we come to our second message from this month’s series, Priority Check we are considering the Priority of Commitment. We saw last Sunday in our study of Luke 14:1-14 the importance of having Priorities for Others. PEOPLE (others) are to have a higher priority than TRADITIONS. OTHERS are also to have a higher priority than SELF. Jesus made these truths clear to His followers. Others are to have a real PRIORITY in life. He did not say OTHERS are our HIGHEST priority, for God is to be our HIGHEST priority. However, others are to have a high priority in our Priority Checklist in life.
You most likely did not attend the Freezer Bowl in Cincinnati January 10, 1982. It may very well be that your priority check list would not have attending any football game in any weather very high on the list of priorities in your life. But, what is on your Priority List of COMMITMENTS? Jesus expects His followers to have a priority of commitment.
You remember from last Sunday that Jesus had been invited to a meal on the Sabbath at the home of a one of the leaders of the Pharisees. At the meal He taught them the importance of HUMILITY. That has much to do with our priority of others. While some at the meal were trying to get the seats of higher prominence Jesus told them a parable to teach them to take the lower prominence seats. It is better to be asked to move up to a higher seat than to be asked to move to a lower one. Jesus also told the host the importance of inviting others to dine with him who could not repay them with a similar invitation. Jesus then said the reward for such an attitude would come at the resurrection of the righteous. Then we read in Luke 15:15ff what took place . . .
15 When one of those who were reclining at the table with Him heard this, he said to Him, "Blessed is everyone who will eat bread in the kingdom of God!"
16 But He said to him, "A man was giving a big dinner, and he invited many;
17 and at the dinner hour he sent his slave to say to those who had been invited, ’Come; for everything is ready now.’
18 "But they all alike began to make excuses. The first one said to him, ’I have bought a piece of land and I need to go out and look at it; please consider me excused.’
19 "Another one said, ’I have bought five yoke of oxen, and I am going to try them out; please consider me excused.’
20 "Another one said, ’I have married a wife, and for that reason I cannot come.’
21 "And the slave came back and reported this to his master. Then the head of the household became angry and said to his slave, ’Go out at once into the streets and lanes of the city and bring in here the poor and crippled and blind and lame.’
22 "And the slave said, ’Master, what you commanded has been done, and still there is room.’
23 "And the master said to the slave, ’Go out into the highways and along the hedges, and compel them to come in, so that my house may be filled.
24 ’For I tell you, none of those men who were invited shall taste of my dinner.’"
Those who were in the home of the Pharisee were no doubt quite confident that they would be at that great meal of the righteous in the Kingdom of God. Again they did not realize they had just eaten with the Son of God. How often do we miss a current blessing because we are looking too far ahead and not aware of the present?