Column: "One Layman's Outlook": Spiritual growth is a matter of commitment

Tuesday, April 22, 2003

by Larry Elkins

My daughter, Kayla, was out of school for several days in February. At one point she got so bored that she asked if I would allow her to go to work with me. I agreed, knowing that I would probably need the help that day. She actually worked and did a good job.

That afternoon, when we got home, I had enough time to get cleaned up before time to pick up my wife at work. Kayla chose to stay home. I told her to pick up the living room and vacuum. She exclaimed, "I work all day and have to come home and clean!"

I calmly looked at her and said, "Do you see now why your mother and I get upset when you're home all day and don't clean anything?"

She didn't say anything, but I think she got it. Kayla is to the point of choosing to leave behind childish things. She is not excited about being out of school for snow days. She has realized that those days have to be made up, before or during summer break.

The snow up here is interesting. It's snow. In Pine Bluff, where I grew up, we rarely had snow. We got mostly ice and sleet. We had to make snow cones instead of snow ice cream. Although, I have remembered my mother's recipe for snow ice cream since we moved up here. One good thing about it is that when you learn to drive on ice, snow is not so much of a problem.

We were driving somewhere in the snow one day. The weather reports were calling for more snow. We passed Wal-Mart and saw the parking lot full.

It struck me that in bad weather, twice as many people make it to Wal-Mart, but only half as many people make it to church.

It reminds me of a letter that a young man wrote to his girlfriend stating that he would swim the deepest oceans and climb the highest mountains just to see her.

Sounds wonderful, but the postscript read, "P.S. I'll be over to your house tonight if it doesn't rain."

Proverbs 16:3 (KJV), "Commit thy works unto the Lord, and thy thoughts shall be established." It sounds like this young man's thoughts were not truly established on what he wanted or even on what he confessed.

It's this commitment to Jesus that helps us grow spiritually. Sometimes you just don't want to climb out of a warm bed to pray or read the Bible and sometimes I wouldn't; OK, sometimes I don't. I also need to work on my commitment.

It's one of the adult things I want Kayla to choose as she leaves behind childhood.

She's only 12, but what about us? Is it actually the weather that keeps us out of church, or is it just a convenient excuse?

I've seen some of your driveways, and as steep and winding as they are, I wouldn't want to try to get out of them in the snow. However, last fall someone told me that they missed church because they forgot about daylight savings time. It made me wonder, since we turned the clocks back in the fall, why they weren't an hour early for service. Excuses can really hinder commitment.

Ecclesiastes 9:10, reads, "Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might; for there is no work, nor device, nor knowledge, nor wisdom, in the grave, whither thou goest." Commit yourself to do all you can while you have the strength and the breath. Live life to the fullest, and, "Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God." I Corinthians 10:31.

Psalm 18:2 says, "The Lord is my rock, and my fortress, and my deliverer; my God, my strength, in whom I will trust; my buckler, and the horn of my salvation, and my high tower."

He is my deliverer. I trust that He will help me get to church and I can stop at the store at on the way home.

He is my Rock. It's easy to drive on a rock.

He is my Buckler. That covers seatbelts.

A Fortress would make a pretty good garage, so my car is protected too.

Is there any other reason I should be afraid of driving to church? Oh yeah, it's springtime. Watch out for tornadoes.

Actually, tornadoes have come close to my house three times in my adult life. I was at church all three times!

He is my High tower ---- and my storm shelter.

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