I Surrender All
There is an account of a conversation between the late Adrian Rogers (an American Southern Baptist pastor and conservative author) and Rev Josef Tson, the Romanian pastor, author, and president of the Romanian Missionary Society who survived years of persecution and exile under cruel Communist rule. Rogers asked Dr. Tson for his perception of American Christianity.
Josef said, “the key word in American Christianity is commitment. This is not good.
As a matter of fact, the word commitment did not come into great usage in the English language until about the 1960s. In Romania we do not even have a word to translate the English word commitment. If you were to use commitment in your message tonight, I would not have a proper word to translate it with.
When a new word comes into usage, it generally pushes an old word out. I began to study and found the old word that commitment replaced - the word surrender."
What is the difference between commitment and surrender?
“When you make a commitment, you are still in control, no matter how noble the thing you commit to. One can commit to pray, to study the Bible, to give his money, or to commit to automobile payments, or to lose weight. Whatever he chooses to do, he commits to.
But surrender is different. If someone holds a gun and asks you to lift your hands in the air as a token of surrender, you don’t tell that person what you are committed to. You simply surrender and do as you are told . . . Americans love commitment because they are still in control.
But the key word is surrender. We are to be slaves to the Lord Jesus Christ.”
The season of Lent is approaching. Ash Wednesday is February 22 and we will observe Lent during the six weeks prior to Holy Week and Resurrection Sunday.
I pray that each and every one of us will make the time to come and worship on Wednesdays during Lent. If you have children, grandchildren or neighbor’s kids, bring them along. You and they can be up a little later than 8pm! In fact, coming to mid-week Lenten worship can be a part of your Lenten discipline this year. Some folks give something up for Lent (it’s a discipline); why not take something up for Lent; such as surrendering yourself to Jesus? I believe you will be amazed at what will happen in your faith life and in your physical life of serving Him.
This year’s Lenten worship theme will point us to the reason we need to surrender – rather than commit – all to Jesus. How often might we say, “I surrender all” yet neglect the most crucial element of surrendering; surrendering ourselves. When folks hear the Gospel of Jesus for the first time – and embrace it – they surrender their old life in order to possess the new one.
Andrew Murray (a South African writer, teacher and Christian pastor) said, “God is ready to assume full responsibility for the life wholly yielded to Him.”
Pastor Fred Westerhold