Articles | Serving
Tony Myles

Tony Myles is a youth ministry veteran, conference speaker, author, volunteer youth worker and lead pastor of Connection Church in Medina, Ohio... and he really likes smoothies.

It’s okay to give up on commitment.

That is, if you believe that lie.

It’s hard not to.

We’re surrounded by options all the to be bought out of our overbearing cellphone contracts, rescued out of a bad timeshare decision or litigated out of our marriages.

You don’t really have to “commit” to anything anymore.

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  • return-policyLease a vehicle instead of own one.
  • Send food back to the kitchen at every restaurant.
  • Sign an auto estimate with a mechanic so they can tell you the parts you need to fix your car… so you can go shop for the parts cheaper and have your buddy do the work for free.
  • Hang onto the box of whatever you bought so you can upgrade it in a few months simply by showing your receipt and saying, “I wasn’t satisfied with it.”
  • Leave any conversation or situation that becomes argumentative. 

You may be able to make an argument for some of those things. I wouldn’t argue back. I’m sure a few have reasons for them.

What I’m more pointing out is  when this becomes our mindset culturally it will eventually make its way into the church… perhaps even through you.

  • receiptIs there a “return policy” when people sign up to serve doing something and get tired of it? Should/shouldn’t there be?
  • Is church membership really about the long haul… or is a “temporary contract” about agreeing to do life with each other until something frustrates you? Should/shouldn’t it be?
  • Is your role in ministry fixed and constant, or do you believe you can “exchange it” for something you like better? Should/shouldn’t it be?

Again, I’m not saying this is uncommon.

I’m asking if God would consider it Normal.

Once the frustrations of life kick in, we start looking for the fine print that gives us an out. Along the way, we water down the value of something we once were passionate about as nothing more than a “purchase gone bad”.

Is our serving missing something… such as serving?

We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance. And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation. And this hope will not lead to disappointment. For we know how dearly God loves us, because he has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with his love. (Romans 5:3-5)

Dear brothers and sisters,[a] when troubles of any kind come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. 3 For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing. (James 1:2-4)

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us. We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith. Because of the joy awaiting him, he endured the cross, disregarding its shame. Now he is seated in the place of honor beside God’s throne. Think of all the hostility he endured from sinful people;[c] then you won’t become weary and give up. (Hebrews 12:1-3)

receipt2I’m continuously saddened by pastors and youth workers who look for loopholes that let them out of their commitments. We come up with ridiculous reasons that we spray spiritual perfume onto, such as how our dissatisfaction is “God’s way of telling us to move on.” Perseverance, carrying our cross, extending love to our enemies and demonstrating forbearance are things we’re just not interested in.

And so… every summer the pieces move around the chess board. Ministers trade one job for another. Congregation members start attending somewhere “more ________.”

Teenagers and kids take it all in.

When commitment doesn’t matter at home or at church, what messages are we forming into the critical periods of a student’s  development? What are we saying does and doesn’t really matter? How does this affect their image of God?

Does God ever completely give up on us? If not, why would we live any differently?

Instead of blaming society for all of this, how about we start owning how we contribute to the mess?

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