2004-05-03 - Commitment
Isaiah 57:1,2 "The righteous man perishes, and no man takes it to heart; and devout men are taken away, while no one understands. For the righteous man is taken away from evil, he enters into peace; they rest in their beds, each one who walked in his upright way."
This devotional is not for the squeamish or faint of heart. If you don't like graphic details, you may wish to read a devotional from another day or skip today.
There have been several recent news stories about commitment. One is Pat Tillman, a professional football player in the National Football League, who gave up a multi-million dollar contract to become a United States Army Ranger making only $18,000 a year. He was recently killed in combat in Afghanistan. His commitment was to his country, and it is enviable.
There was also a recent train explosion in North Korea, where many were killed. Every building in North Korea is required to contain pictures of North Korea's President Kim Jong II, and his father. After the train explosion, people were burned to death by entering burning buildings to save these pictures. They are now being called martyrs and heros. Their commitment was...well, who knows? ... less than enviable?
David Hackston was a Christian in Scotland when it was a crime to believe in doctrines of Grace. He was not a preacher or minister. He was just an everyday Christian who was committed to Christ. This landed him in jail for eight years. When fire was threatening the prison he was in, he was rescued and escaped. He then turned himself in to authorities, because he did not want to run from his faith. He was brought to trial. Even before his trial started, the judges had already decided on his manner of execution. Declared guilty, he was not even allowed to speak final words to his wife and children.
He was brought to the scaffold and allowed to pray, but not to speak. His right hand was cut off, and then his left. He was brought to the top of the gallows by a pulley, three times, and dropped upon the scaffold below. The executioner took a knife, opened his chest, and pulled out his heart, still beating, and stuck the knife into it. His head was cut off and his body divided into four parts. The parts were then carried throughout Scotland. His commitment was to his faith, in the mercy and grace of Jesus Christ and a blessed eternity with Him.
This man was not great worker for Christ who had a large following. He was the common man in the pew or seat next to you when you go to church. He was a simple Christian. However, being a simple Christian is never so simple for those who really believe what they say are committed to. It is a faith worth dying for, and only a true Christian knows this.
I wonder how many have such a faith today. We might expect the leaders we admire to have such a faith, but, "Lord, am I required to have such a faith also?" The answer is that we are required to have such a faith. When we come to faith in Christ, we come with no reserve, no regret, and no retreat. Coming to Christ with any less commitment is bound to lead to failure when our faith is challenged and the cost of discipleship to Christ is tested. May we all live up to the faith we claim, regardless of personal costs to us. Eternity awaits for the faithful.
Soli Deo Gloria,