I. Robert Turner told a story about a hen and a pig who became very good friends. One seldom saw them apart. One day as they strolled about the barnyard lot, the hen suggested that since they had never eaten breakfast together, that they do that the next morning. Never being one to turn down a meal, the pig readily agreed and asked, “What will we eat?”
The hen stood in deep thought for a while, then said, “It appears to me that if each of us contributes something to the meal it will be more meaningful to each of us.” “Fine,” said the pig, “and what do you suggest?”
Again, the hen stood as if in deep thought for a while and then said, “I have an idea, let’s have ham and eggs. I’ll provide the eggs and you the ham.” “Hold on,” said the pig, “What you offer to contribute is the fruit of your labor, but what you’re asking of me requires total commitment!”
II. The first and greatest commandment is to love God with our whole being - Mt 22:37-40
A. We cannot hold anything back - Luke 14:33
B. What we have to offer God is our own selves - Rom. 12:1
III. A total commitment puts God at the head
A. Many of us feel pressures to do many different things at once. We have to chose the things that are the most important.
B. Too often God is put off
1. We don’t have to face Him directly.
2. We won’t see the consequences immediately. We tell ourselves that we can make it up to God later.
3. Matt 6:33 - God’s church comes first.
C. The example of the disciples - Mt 4:18-22
1. They were invited by Christ to follow him
2. They left their families, their business, they even left their equipment just for a chance to follow the Messiah.
3. Yet the same invitation is offered to each one of us.
a. A few here show your priorities. The offer is made to put on Christ, but “I don’t know, maybe later.” Later will never come with that attitude. You can always put it off. I’m sure it doesn’t take much effort to convince yourself that it is best to wait just a little while longer. Without a commitment to God, it would be meaningless anyway.
b. Some of you have respond with zeal at first, but the years since you have let the world distract you — subtly changing your priorities. “I would do that, if only I had the time.”
D. It is the apathy that kills more people’s faith.
1. It is not like we are facing opposition, thought some have to so that they commit their lives to Christ.
a. Erik Steinmetz had to leave his home because he chose God over his mother’s religion.
b. Would you cave in to your mom or go with what you know is right?
c. Mt 10:34-37 - If you can’t put God before your parents, you don’t deserve salvation.
2. Some chose a lifetime of persecution
a. Early Christians face all sorts of problems. I just read the other day how that Rome developed a policy of giving out a token to show that you had made a sacrifice to the Emperor. Without that token, you could not shop in the market place, you could be arbitrarily arrested.
b. Mt 10:38-39
c. Foxe’s Book of Martyrs
“The causes why the Roman emperors did so persecute the Christians were chiefly these — fear and hatred.
First, fear, for that the emperors and senate, of blind ignorance, not knowing the manner of Christ’s kingdom, feared and misdoubted lest the same would subvert their empery; and therefore sought they all means possible, how, by death and all kinds of torments, utterly to extinguish the name and memory of the Christians.
Secondly, hatred, partly for that this world, of its own natural condition, had ever hated and maliced the people of God, from the first beginning of the world. Partly again, for that the Christians being of a contrary nature and religion, serving only the true living God, despised their false gods, space against their idolatrous worshippings, and many times stopped the power of Satan working in their idols: and therefore Satan, the prince of this world, stirred up the Roman princes and blind idolaters to bear the more hatred and spite against them. Whatsoever mishappened to the city or provinces of Rome, either famine, pestilence, earthquake, wars, wonders, unseasonableness of weather, or what other evils soever, it was imputed to the Christians.”
d. And we are not at this time called upon to endure this great of suffering in this country just because we are Christians.
3. Some people are more concern with worldly things.
a. This is the problem Martha had. She let herself be distracted by everyday things. - Lk 10:40-42
b. In your grandma or great-grandma’s day, she used to get up on Sunday morning, cook a big breakfast for her large family, milk the cows, churn, clean house, kill and dress the chickens for dinner, dress the children, then drive with the family in a buggy or wagon five miles to worship services and was likely to get there early.
c. Today — when breakfast comes in a cereal box, the milk, butter, and chickens come from the grocery store and the distance to the meeting house is covered in minutes in an automobile, it is almost impossible for some folks to make it in time for Bible study.
d. What is the difference, but a willing commitment to God?
4. I truly believe that we just have it too easy. Our complacency and our lack of commitment is slowing strangling our faith.
IV. God rewards those who have their priority straight
A. Not just an eternal reward. There are benefits here and now - Lk 18:28-30
B. David would rather be a doorkeeper in God’s house than to live the life of ease among the wicked - Ps. 84:10-12
C. Godliness is profitable in all things - I Tim 4:8-9
1. Properly following God’s teachings will make you a better father, mother, husband, wife, employee, business owner, or friend
2. It is not a promise of a life of ease, but of greater service to God and our fellow men.
V. God does require a total commitment of us, even to the point of dying for him if called to do so.
A. Many of us believe we are that strong, but total commitment also means a dedication to God even when nothing opposes us, when cares of this world distracts us, when friends and relatives conspire against us.
B. How committed are you to God?