For I am already being poured out like a drink offering, and the time for my departure is near. 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 to me on that day—and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing.
– 2 Timothy 4:6-8
“Are you ready to be poured out as an offering? It is an act of your will, not your emotions. Tell God you are ready to be offered as a sacrifice for Him. Then, accept the consequences as they come, without any complaints, in spite of what God may send your way. God sends you through a crisis in private, where no other person can help you. From the outside your life may appear to be the same, but the difference is taking place in your will. Once you have experienced the crisis in your will, you will take no thought of the cost when it begins to affect you externally. If you don’t deal with God on the level of your will first, the result will be only to arouse sympathy for yourself…
“Tell God you are ready to be poured out as an offering, and God will prove Himself to be all you ever dreamed He would be.”
– Oswald Chambers, My Utmost for His Highest
When I read this devotion from Oswald Chambers, I was very moved. When I came to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ in 1969, I surrendered totally to Him. Two years later while attending college, my draft lottery number was a very, very low number. The government announced that year that the college deferment option was being eliminated. Yet, the same day as the draft lottery, I was offered an Army ROTC scholarship. By the time my military commitment was over, I had a wife and two young sons. I spent a lot of time providing for my family, but I was unsettled, uneasy. I did a lot of church work, but that was not enough. I had made a commitment to Jesus Christ that I felt was not fulfilled.
I have discovered that to be fulfilled in a Christian walk, it takes a full commitment. That isn’t easy with children and jobs, but it can be learned through discipline, prayer, and Bible reading (when the children and the job allow).
I heard a story when I went to a leadership conference for Boy Scout leaders. The story went that two old men sat on a park bench in the mall while their wives went shopping. One was an American veteran of World War II. As he started talking to the Japanese immigrant next to him, he found that the Japanese man was also a veteran of World War II, just for the Japanese.
US Veteran: I was in the Pacific.
Japanese Veteran: I was too.
US Veteran: I was a fighter pilot.
Japanese Veteran: I was a kamikaze pilot.
US Veteran: Oh, I guess you did not fly any missions, then.
Japanese Veteran: Oh, no. I flew 38 missions.
US Veteran: But you must not have understood your mission.
Japanese Veteran: Oh, I understood my mission. I was just not committed to it.
Our preacher used the example of breakfast in a recent sermon. The chicken only makes a contribution, but whether you have pork sausage, bacon or ham, the pig is fully committed.
Sometimes we make an “All In” commitment to Jesus Christ and the world closes in on us. Our responsibilities get the better of us for a season. But you are never truly happy, if God has called you for something more. God is still preparing you when the time is right. But when you recommit and listen to that voice, God will direct you to what will make you happy.
You may ask how you can be happy when you suffer for Christ’s sake. It comes down to that total commitment. When you get closer and closer to Jesus, you start to want only what He wants of you. And what He wants of you becomes clearer each day.
Some people in the pews are like the chicken, they contribute, but they aren’t committed. Some people relate this as head knowledge versus heart knowledge. I have read multiple posts on that subject lately. Lee Strobel touched on it in my daily dose of Today’s Moment of Truth. It is the essence of the Japanese Veteran in the joke above. He understood fully well what his mission was, but he was not committed to the mission.
Are you committed? Are you ready to pour yourself out as an offering before God? Are you willing to accept whatever circumstances may come when you do so?
If you are ready to be poured out, listen carefully for God’s voice. He has a mission for you.