A Pattern of Commitment
By Tober Crowder
Acts 1:14 “These all continued with one accord in prayer and supplication, with the women, and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with his brethren.”
I read a statement some time back that said, “In order to make an impact, you must be involved.” With all due respect to the author of that statement, I would like to offer a somewhat revised version and say that “in order to make an impact, you must be COMMITTED!” Some people take commitment very seriously, while others find commitment to be a challenge. Churches today are struggling to operate due to a lack of committed members and servants. Are you being committed to the person of Jesus Christ, and the things of God? To help answer this question, may I recommend that you consider the pattern of your lifestyle?
We all have days and times that we are committed, and thankfully so. Without some level of commitment among Christians and church members, it would be difficult to accomplish many of the tasks of the local church. In looking at the many examples in Scripture, I noticed the commitment of Mary in Acts chapter one and began to ponder her presence there with the disciples and other dedicated followers of Christ, after His ascension. She had been a young Jewish girl when she is introduced in Scripture, and now we see her decades later still gathered with the body of believers that had been left behind to await His promises.
Change comes with life, and change came for young Mary when we first meet her in Luke’s Gospel. When the angel told her that God had a plan for her life, Mary was faced with a decision… would she follow God’s plan for her life, or would she rebel against Him? Mary had found her purpose early in life, and it became her reason for living. Our purpose in life sets the pattern for every decision and action we make. By submitting her life to God’s plan, she set the standard for the remainder of her life and actions. Notice all the times in Scripture that Mary is present simply because she followed God’s will and committed herself to Him in service. She was present at the wedding in Cana of Galilee… she was often present throughout the Gospels… and at Calvary. Her actions show that she was committed to God’s plan and that dictated the patterns of her life.
Many times, when faced with a conflicting decision, the patterns of our life are revealed. If our first thought is “What Will It Cost?”, then money is the pattern, and money can be taken away. If we ask, “How Long Will It Take?”, then time is the pattern, and it will always run out. If we ask, “How Will I Feel?” then pleasure is the pattern and will soon diminish. How often do we ask ourselves “What will others think?” When we allow that answer to control our decisions, then popularity is the determining factor, and the opinion of humanity is fleeting at best. What we should be asking are questions such as: “How will this affect my relationship with God?” … “Will this bring honor and glory to the Lord Jesus Christ?” … “Will humanity and those without Christ benefit from this decision?”
Consider the pattern of Mary’s life from the first time we learn of her in Scripture. She was young, single, and scared, yet she was obedient and faithful to God’s will. Consider all that Mary had been through in her life as she watched Jesus grow from a baby into adulthood. She saw Him perform miracles. She watched firsthand as He healed the sick, fed their needy, and raised the dead. She watched him be unjustly accused, condemned in a mock trial, and later receive the death sentence. She watched Him carry the cross where He was spat upon and crucified. She followed her son to the very end, but Luke tells us in Acts 1:14 that she followed him farther than that. Mary knew and believed the words of our Savior and was faithful as she waited with the other followers for His promise to be fulfilled. Will we follow her example of commitment as we await His return?
Toby Crowder serves as Pastor of Mt. Carmel Baptist Church in Spruce Pine. He and his wife Leslie have been married for 28 years and have two daughters, Emilee, and Katy. He can be contacted via the church’s website MCfamilyforChrist.org or [email protected]
You can read more from Pastor Crowder here.