If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him step to the music which he hears, however measured or far away---Henry David Thoreau

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Keeping Commitments: Acts 28:16-25a, 28-31

*This lesson can also be found at: http://www.faithandliferesources.org/Curriculum/abs/abs100829.html

Well, this is my last lesson to write for Adult Bible Study Online. I have kept a commitment I made to write these lessons before this summer came along. Like a lot of commitments I make, after the commitment is made I am determined to complete it to the end, even when the enthusiasm wanes or a lazy summer day calls me away from the computer.

For me keeping commitments plays a significant role in being faithful. That’s why I have problems with marriages that are simply built on romantic love. When the goosebumps of a first kiss are long gone and you slam the door after an argument, what holds the marriage together? I remember saying “I do” and “for better or worse” to my wife, Iris, when we first got married. For 37 years I have tried to keep that commitment, even when times have been rough and the words “I do” are a faint memory. For me keeping my commitment means I have to constantly renew the promise I made long ago.

It’s the same kind of commitment I made with my call to ministry 37 years ago. Even when times were extremely difficult and I would have rather been out playing my drums or painting a picture, I attended meetings, counseled church members with problems (sometimes with me!), dealt with church conflicts, prepared for Sunday services on my weekends, and countless other common tasks of being an overworked pastor. Still, I kept a commitment I made long ago.

Even though the apostle Paul was under house arrest and guarded by a Roman soldier, he kept his commitment to Christ and to sharing the gospel. Even in hardship, when it would have been much better being out enjoying a day under the warm Roman sun, Paul arranged a meeting with local Jewish leaders, planned to appeal to Rome as a Roman citizen to avoid death, witnessed to the leaders about Christ at a second meeting and was rejected by some. Paul was keeping his commitment to Christ and the gospel.

Keeping our commitments can be a witness to our faithfulness to God. Enthusiasm may fade. Hard times usually come. Boredom may overtake us. But, it just may be that at those moments keeping our commitments is the most important thing we can do.

• What commitments have you made in your life?
• Have those commitments, at times, been hard to keep?
• Why is it important to keep commitments?

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