Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Without Commitment

I recently came across an interesting quote on commitment while reading a post by Jack Price of Crossroads. The quote is by the German poet, Johann Wolfgang Goethe:
"Unless one is committed, there is a hesitancy; the chance to draw back; always ineffectiveness, concerning all acts of initiative and creation. There is one elementary truth, the ignorance of which kills countless ideas and splendid plans: that the moment one definitely commits oneself, then providence moves too. All sorts of things occur to help one that would never otherwise have occurred. A whole stream of events issues from the decision, raising in one’s favor all manner of unforeseen incidents and meetings and material assistance which no one could have dreamed would come his way. What you can do, or dream you can begin it: boldness has genius, power and magic in it. Begin it now."
There's really nothing quite like commitment. Almost universally feared before actually making one, once the decision is made, commitment brings a sense of fulfillment and purpose that is unattainable from partial support. "Partial commitment" is an oxymoron - it's not a halfway decision, something one is free to back out of. That's not partially committed, that's uncommitted. Mirriam-Webster defines commitment as "a consignment to a penal or mental institution." Oops! Wait, that's something else entirely! Its second definition is "the state or an instance of being obligated or emotionally impelled".

There's power in commitment. My friend Don (who is much more down-to-earth than Goethe), likes to ask "How many chickens does it take to pull a wagon?" The answer is: you can't pull a wagon with a bunch of chickens, but get one or two committed horses and you can pull an amazing load. Friends, if you're involved in ministry, that's fantastic. But are you committed? Do you fill in 'when needed' or can the leader count on you to be there regularly. Will you stay or go when the chips are down? It may seem like a small point, but for the ministry leader, and for the ministry itself, there's a huge difference.

Don't hesitate, don't wallow in ineffectiveness, decide what's important and commit to it. Step up - and be part of fulfilling a dream!

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