Sunday, October 17, 2010

Commitment and Contentment


Living life takes a certain degree of commitment. To survive in today’s economic climate, one or more family members must work a minimum number of hours to provide food and housing. From childhood, minimum attendance is measured in elementary school with emphasis on reading, writing and arithmetic, along with socialization with one’s peers. Completion of high school or college is more rigorous and has minimum course requirements and passing grades. Marriage (although statistics often measure the lack of commitment in today’s society), requires steadfast commitment, genuine love, grace, and each spouse’s benevolent desire to esteem their spouse higher than oneself. Athletic accomplishments (even for professional, naturally gifted athletes) require dedicated training, proper nutrition and hydration, adequate rest and sheer determination to finish well despite grueling pain, unpleasant weather, or obnoxious opponents.

Our pastor recently challenged each one of us to commitment in several areas. Written commitment cards and the public placement of those on the altar presently remind us that our personal faith should spill over into the lives of others, and into the local church. Those cards will no longer be prominent during the holiday season once the advent wreath and the scenery for this year’s Christmas play appear. Our corporate and individual ability to fulfill such a pledge will require faith, an unwavering dependence on Christ, and daily dying to self.

As 2009 drew to a close, I planned my goals (KRA’s in Reachglobal terminology) and knew that only a unattainable goal would push me sufficiently so as to make room in my daily life for consistent exercise. Having never run more than 5K, I chose a half marathon in late fall, and knew that discipline and the encouragement of family and friends would be necessary. Until my foot crossed the finish line (which most Garmin wearing runners faster that I would state was actually 13.3+ miles) l knew that the same focus and sheer determination that got me through hours of labor preceding each of my children’s birth would be necessary. And yes, I finished the half marathon and desire to do yet another!

Commitments that are kept bring deep contentment here on earth. A marriage with a love deeper than ever imagined; a successful career and volunteer opportunities into the end of one’s lifespan; healthy communities, organizations and churches and hope for future generations. How much greater will be the contentment in eternity?

I do all this for the sake of the gospel, that I may share in its blessings. Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize. Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last; but we do it to get a crown that will last forever. 1 Corinthians 9:23-25 (NIV)


1 comment:

Phyllis said...

Cathi,

I love your thoughts about striving to meet significant commitments to service throughout life. My only reservation is that you are young and healthy now and do not know what later life may bring. Sometimes, with grief and disappointment about the situation, one cannot serve as she or he really wants to. I am experiencing that. One can tend to feel useless, but I know that is not God's will for His own. I think the focus of our commitments can no longer be to the larger volunteer opportunities but to the very individual encouragement one can provide via a note or telephone call or other small gesture of love. You are correct though, that that service still requires commitment. :)