The community orchestra had been preparing for their annual fall concert for nearly five months. At the final dress rehearsal, the conductor took time during a break to thank everyone who had helped over the past months. He thanked the sponsors, the press, the ladies who had helped with the costumes, and everyone else he could think of.
Finally, he said, “I want to pay special tribute to one member who hasn’t missed a single rehearsal. Everyone else has missed at least one night except Joe, our first violinist. I’d like him to stand and be recognized.
The applause was affirming, and finally Joe was able to speak. “Thank you very much. I thought it was the least I could do since I won’t be here tomorrow night for the big concert.”
That’s as bad as the guy I read about who endured a long hospitalization. His doctor told him, “You are very sick, but you’ll pull through.”
However, the patient was scared for his life. “Please, doctor,” he said, “do everything you can. If I get well, I’ll donate $10,000 to the fund for the new hospital.”
Several months later the doctor ran into the patient on the street and asked him how he felt, and the man told the doctor that he was doing great.
“Good,” the doctor said, “because we could use that $10,000 you promised to give to the new hospital fund.”
The man shook his head. “If I said that, doc, I must have been really sick!”
Commitment and follow-through are rare qualities these days. Making a promise is easy. Keeping it sometimes is not. Commitment is simply doing what you say you’re going to do. It’s more than good intentions; it’s following through. It’s what turns a promise into reality. It’s keeping your vows, showing up when you say you’re going to, and being dependable and faithful.
Too often we’re like the man who was down at the stadium loudly rooting for the home team. The TV cameras caught him “coaching from the stands” as they panned the crowd. Interestingly, he was wearing a t-shirt that read, “My wife thinks I’m at Promise Keepers.”
One arena that needs your commitment in these days of consumerism and uncertainty is your church. The church is our spiritual headquarters, a family of support and encouragement, an oasis in a stressed and weary world. It is a place to connect with people just like you, people who are facing the same struggles you are facing. Your church needs your support — your presence, participation, prayer, and commitment. Your church is what you make it, and you get out of it in proportion to what you put into it.
There is no perfect church because every church is filled with people who are sinners saved by grace, but who are still imperfect. Yet, if the church is going to fulfill her God-given mission and be effective, she needs people that are committed.
The Central Church of Brooklyn carried this article in its worship bulletin several years ago:
“This is my church. It is composed of people like me. We make it what it is. I want it to be a church that is a light on the paths of pilgrims, leading them to goodness, truth and beauty. It will be, if I am. It will be friendly, if I am. Its pews will be filled, if I help to fill them. It will do a great work, if I work. It will bring other people into its worship and fellowship, if I bring them. It will be a church of loyalty and love, of fearlessness and faith, if I who make it what it is, am filled with these. Therefore, I dedicate myself to the task of being what I want my church to be.”
What is it that keeps you from making a stronger commitment to your church? Where can you improve in your support of your church? Can your church count on you?
[Dr. David L. Chancey is pastor, McDonough Road Baptist Church, Fayetteville, Georgia. The church family meets at 352 McDonough Rd. and invites you to join them for Bible study at 9:45 a.m. and worship at 10:55 a.m. Visit them on the web at www.mcdonoughroad.org, and “like” them on Facebook.]