Ask almost anyone over the age of 60, and he/she will tell of a time when, “Your word was your bond.” In other words, if a person said he would do something, he could be counted on to do it. Sure, there were those who did not follow through, but they were the exception.
Today’s culture is very different. A person’s word is rarely fully trusted even when it is actually fully trustworthy. In a culture where selfishness and greed seem to dominate, a fog of mistrust covers almost every relationship at least to some degree. Unfortunately, not keeping a commitment has become almost acceptable, and excuses for doing so are a dime a dozen.
With that in mind, let us consider three areas where making and keeping commitments can work to build trust in a way that can be a catalyst for change within our culture. Understanding and striving for trustworthy commitment with regard to work, family and especially faith defines a person like no other character quality and can affect change in compounding ways.
Commitment to work certainly includes but definitely goes beyond work as it relates to a job. For children and teens, work means the effort put forth in sports and school. For adults, commitment to work involves a job but also other commitments such as volunteering. Commitment to work, really, is fully giving the effort needed to accomplish a task to the best of one’s ability. Commitment with regard to work involves the following core principles:
- Do what you say you’re going to do when you say you’re going to do it.
- Do what you know is right. You only control yourself and no one else.
- Be someone who can be depended upon regardless of whether or not others are reliable.
Commitment to family does not revolve around activity but rather around connection. In fact, over-commitment to activity actually serves in working against connection. Commitment to family involves a letting go of self and enters into a habitual preferring of others not out of obligation but out of love. Commitment to family also involves keeping whole as an individual and bringing the best of you, whatever that might be at any given time, to every situation. On a more detailed level, commitment to family involves placing a spouse above others (yes, even kids), as it is the one earthly relationship that most closely relates to the relationship we are to have with Christ.
Commitment to faith in Christ really surrounds and permeates all other areas of commitment. How a person commits to the call of Christ on his/her life determines how commitment exists in every other area, including family and work. Yet, caution must exist when considering faith as a separate area of commitment. In other words, faith is not yet another commitment to be balanced; instead, faith in Jesus is the scale that balances all other areas. Consider the following when evaluating your commitment to Christ and how your answers reflect your commitment in life as a whole.
- Are you willing and ready to arise and be His voice? Whatever and wherever?
- Has Christ won your heart? If He truly has, are you running after Him and following His lead?
- Would you lay down your life for Him? What are you willing to sacrifice for Him?
- Have you committed fully to the Lord? Are you allowing Him to pour you out as He sees fit?
- How has Christ’s love changed you? Will you go and be where He wants? Do what He wants?
- Will you follow the path He chooses and leads you down?
Answering these questions not only determines how your commitment plays out in the areas of faith, work and family, but it also determines the character with which your entire life is lived.
We live in a culture where keeping commitments seems optional at times. But while we are in this culture, we don’t have to be people of this culture. John 15:19 says “If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you.” As we commit more fully to Christ and increasingly give our lives to Him, commitments in other areas of our lives increase as a result. And we soon find that while we may live in a culture where greed and selfishness seem rampant at times, we do not belong to the world but to a Savior who deserves our complete and total commitment.
DISCUSSION: Discuss the impact of the above questions on your current level of commitment.