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Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Would God Have to Sue You to Get You to Fulfill Your Commitment?

You have finally realized your dream could come true. You could have that remodeled kitchen or bathroom. You could have that sunroom or finished attic. You finally have the plans, the money to pay for it and you contact a contractor to do the work. You have been careful in choosing this man. His work is impeccable. An agreement is met with a handshake. He can start Monday morning. You write a check for the materials. He wants all of the money upfront but you know better.

The glorious day arrives when the work starts. No materials have arrived but it's okay. Demolition must proceed construction. The contractor works in a frenzy. He knows his trade and tears things apart quickly and loudly. Dust is everywhere! Things are going gloriously. You can't wait!

The house is a mess but you can live with it. You are about to receive your dream. You can put up with just about anything. Wednesday rolls around and the contractor works for a little while, receives a phone call and tells you that he has to see another customer but will be back soon.

A week passes and you don't see him. Then, he comes by and drops off some needed building supply. He piddles around for a little while and is gone again. Three weeks have passed and you have seen little progress. You realize that your contractor has you just where he wants you. Your house is such a mess that you can't back out. You can't find someone else to complete the job because you have already paid him for the materials. You must resort to threats and you hate having to do this.

Does this sound familiar? Just about everyone who has renovated his house knows this frustration. I am sure there are some contractors who stay on the job until completed but I haven't used them. I have had to threaten lawsuits to get them to return. I don't think they were too worried. What would really happen to them in a lawsuit? Most of them have very little in their own names. They have all their assets in their wive's names. Suing them just makes them change the name of their business.

Before we continue to disparage all the contractors in the world, let's take a look at our own lives. Have we ever acted like this contractor? Have we ever treated God this way? Have we ever started down the road of doing what needed to be done and gotten sidetracked?

I have seen it happen often. A person comes back to church after years of infrequency. His live is in a mess. He is losing his children, his wife or his financial means. He knows he needs the Lord. He walks forward in a church service to publicly commit himself to the Lord. He promises to act in a manner pleasing to the Lord forever.

Things go well in the beginning. He works hard to see things change. Progress is being made. Life starts to get back in order. He lives through the consequences of his previous action and claims that the Lord has given hims strength to endure. It appears that his whole life will soon be in order.

Just then, something happens that he has to take care of. It seems like a little thing. He doesn't feel that well or he has to do something with his business or he just wants to attend a sporting event that will take him away on a Sunday morning. That small crack in his faithfulness gets larger. God, who can be put on the back burner once, can be put on hold with greater and greater frequency. Eventually, he is back in the condition he was in before he made a commitment to renovate his life. In fact, he may be in worse shape.

Did he not realize that his commitment to the Lord was lifelong? Starting a job is important but not more important than finishing it.  Will God have to threaten to sue the man in order to get his to complete the job he started? Will God have to let his reap the fullness of the consequences of his actions?

How many Christians will say they started well but got sidetracked? I don't want to be one of them. Do you?

2 Timothy 4:7-8 (NIV)
I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, will award me on that day--and not only to me, but also to all who also have longed for his appearing.

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