Commitment in my own opinion is the act of total surrendering to a particular thing or person while humility and hospitality are twins that complement each other in their roles. Let us explicitly discuss total commitment, humility, and hospitality using biblical standards.
1. The Message on Total Commitment
“Jesus said to them, if anyone wants to become my followers, let them deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me.” Mark 8:34.
i. God requests All not the Best: Many people erroneously hold the opinion that God demands our best. Therefore, if my best is money, I give it to Him. If too, is my talent, I give it to Him. But the truth of the matter is that God has not asked us to give Him just our best. It is this wrong notion of stewardship that is still weighing us down.
God requires from us not only our best but also our all. The reasons remain that Giving our best is based on activity but Giving us all is based on relationship. Giving of our best begins outside of us, however, giving of our all begins inside of us.
Also, Giving our best may come out of a sense of duty while giving us all comes out of love. Giving our best is the basis of fragmented stewardship but giving us all is the basis of total stewardship.
For example, the church in Macedonia, as testified to by Paul, illustrates the principle of giving our all. (2 Cor. 8:1-5) In line with giving our all, Jesus demands total commitment from us all. If you have not given your all to Jesus, you haven’t committed to Him.
ii. Jesus is not a reincarnated prophet.: In Mark 8:27-30, Jesus took His disciple on an excursion into the northern part of Galilee to be alone with them. He still maintained His outreach program to villages. While on the way, he asked them to give Him feedback on people’s assessment of His identity.
Jesus asked this question not for Himself but for their sake. From the responses of the disciples, it appeared clear that the people had a wrong assessment of Jesus.
Though they held Him in high regard; their assessment was not good enough. Jesus was not a reincarnation of any previous prophet. He was the long-expected Messiah.
iii. Jesus is that Messiah: Jesus then turned to them for their responses. Peter gave the accurate answer, by the prompting of the Holy Spirit, that Jesus is the “Anointed one”, the Messiah, the Christ. Mathew in his record added that Jesus is also “the son of the living God” (c.f. Matt 16:16).
By that response, Peter showed on behalf of the other disciples that were at least ahead of the masses in their understanding of who Jesus truly was.
iv. First Lessons: Dear friends, the question of the true identity of Jesus must be personally answered by everyone. He is not just or more than a prophet, teacher, healer, religious founder, philanthropist, etc. as we think of it.
He is the son of the living God, the Messiah, our Saviour, and our God. If Jesus is truly our Messiah, He must remain the pivot and circumstance of our preaching, and too, we must give Him the place He deserves in our lives.
v. Things God expects from us: In Mark 8:31-33, Jesus clarified issues with them vis-à-vis the implications of His messiahship. He taught them the certainty and necessity of His suffering and death. The disciples did pay much attention to this aspect of His teaching.
The action of Peter proved that. He took Jesus aside and began to rebuke Him. He felt that suffering and violent death were not in harmony with the Messiah’s dignity. Satan was merely using Peter to tempt Jesus and lure Him away from the will of His Father.
This implies that a person through whom God gives a great revelation can in another minute be used by Satan for his agenda. What gave the devil a foothold in Peter’s life that enabled him to be used is given I (V.33). He had the things of men at heart instead of the things of God.
This dangerous! As Christians, we should always hold the things of God of utmost importance. Even, if that involves Suffering, we should be ready to endure. The crux of Peter’s problem was his loss of focus. He was more concerned with the things of man than those of God.
Some of the things of God include mission and evangelism, prayer, fellowship, worship, and care for the needy and the less privileged. Mind them very well and it shall be well with you. (Amen)
vi. Cost of discipleship: In verses 34-38, Jesus lucidly stated the cost of discipleship. Simply put, it is total commitment, which demands our All. The demand has four basic steps:
You must come after Him.
You must deny yourself.
You must take up your cross daily.
Then you must follow Him.
These four steps define the fundamentals of total commitment. So, every Christian must pass through these stages. Christians who are committed to Jesus will not be afraid of death for the sake of the gospel or be ashamed of Him or His words. Lack of total commitment is the bane of the churches today.
The church has allowed many other things to take the place of doing the things of God. There are cases of church officers who have not served as expected. Many of such begin well but relax before the end of the year.
Some Christians feel shy to carry their Bibles about. Others are ashamed and afraid to witness Christ. Many others find it difficult to serve God with all He has given them. Total Commitment impacts our attitude, priorities, preferences, finances, time, jobs, etc.
vii. Second Lesson: Friends, if Jesus suffered, then we should be ready to suffer for the sake of the gospel. Suffering is the hallmark of Christian character. If we have to suffer, we must not shy away from it. Are you ready now? Okay! May God strengthen you (Amen).
2. The Message on Humi-Hospitality
The topic “Humi-hospitality” is two in one word, which implies “Humility” and “Hospitality”.
i. Humility: Humility means simply being humble, not being proud, haughty, arrogant, or assertive. When Jesus is dining with the Pharisees, He notices again how much they care about their place in society, even at the table! He recommends that His disciples take the lowest place at first. This exemplifies “Humility”.
ii. Lessons: Brethren, are you proud, arrogant, assertive, stubborn, or high-minded? Aren’t you producing a haughty spirit? What is it reflecting within you? The story of King Uzziah, as recorded in 2 Chronicles 26:1-21 is a clear and perfect example of how pride can reduce or destroy a person.
James recorded, “God opposes the proud and exalts the humble.” This is because a proud person arrogates God’s glory unto himself/herself. Check what your heart breeds, for a bride, comes before a fall!
iii. Hospitality: On the other hand, hospitality is “the art of being generous, receptive, cordial in treatment or disposition.” Drawing insights from the parable of the Great Banquet, Jesus warned against the dangers of partial or selective hospitality (Luke 14:12-24).
iv. Invitation to accommodate all: Jesus urged a prominent Pharisee who invited Him to make his invitation open to accommodate all who may wish to come. He should invite those who may not wish to come. He should invite those who may not be able to pay him back or give him fat envelopes as we are doing in the churches today.
Jesus also reminded his host that all-embracing hospitality qualifies one for divine blessings and a reward at the resumption of the righteous.
v. Lessons: Friends, are you generous or selective with all people? Are you not showing partial behaviors? Are you not showing partial behaviors? Are you treating people with fairness and equality? True hospitality is one of the virtues that people shrink at because it is purely sacrificial.
Abraham and Dorcas are examples of those who practiced and reaped the fruit in their lifetime and also left a challenging legacy for future generations. Every Christian should inculcate the habit of Abraham and Dorcas here.
If you are genuinely receptive and generous to people, you will never lack good things in life. The more you give out, the more you receive!