I’m sure you realize the faith and trust you would place in someone in order to give them a signed blank check. I honestly don’t know many people that I would put that trust in. But that is the kind of trust and faith that Abraham put in God, blindly following God’s instructions while not knowing what would happen on the journey. That’s the kind of faith our Lord God wants for all of us to have in Him.
Dwight L. Moody was known for the declaration, “The world has yet to see what God will do with a man fully consecrated to Him. I will strive to be that man.” We can relate to the businessman who approached D. L. Moody after a meeting and said, “Mr. Moody, I have turned my business over to God and ever since then, it has gone downhill.” Never being one to mince words, Moody replied, “Well, if you turned it over to God, what are you worrying about?” “Yes, but God doesn’t pay my bills,” you counter, still fearful of what might happen if you recognize the force of five words which Paul wrote to the Corinthians when he said, “You are not your own,” quickly adding, “you were bought with a price.”
What does it mean to commit your life to Jesus Christ? Is this to suggest that you are going to be a financial success, a popular person, one with a well-rounded personality, a spiritual guru who gets his prayers answered on the first request, or what? It’s the “or what?” that needs to be addressed, and Dr. Harold Sala answers that next.
The word to commit means “to put or place” something; what happens from that point on isn’t necessarily your responsibility. In simple terms it is the recognition that you belong to Jesus Christ and that He is your Lord. It means you are His to use or to put on the shelf, His to touch the lives of thousands or to bless only your family and friends, His to command whether it be by sending you through the dark valley or to the heights of the mountains. “Commit your work to the Lord, and your plans will be established.” (Proverb 16:3) Dr. Sala tells a story of Everett Howard.
Everett Howard grew up as a PK (that’s a preacher’s kid). After he finished school, he was still struggling with his life goals, and finally he decided that, once and for all, he would commit his life to Jesus Christ. Going to the little church his dad pastored, he entered and locked the doors so no one could embarrass him or interrupt this great transaction which was about to take place.
Kneeling at the altar, he took a piece of paper and listed all the wonderful things he intended to do for God which included even his willingness to be a missionary if God so directed. He also gave God some second options like giving to the church, reading his Bible and being a pretty good guy. In his own words, “Then when I had finished that well-written page, I signed my name at the bottom and laid it on the altar. There alone in the church I looked up and waited for ‘thunder and lightning’ or some act of approval from the Lord. I thought I might experience what Saint Paul did on the road to Damascus or something equally dramatic.” But nothing happened. Absolutely nothing. He heard no voices. He felt nothing. He was disappointed.
He prayed again, going all over the deal he wanted to make with God, and then he said it happened. “I felt the voice of God speaking in my heart,” he later recounted, adding, “I just felt in my own soul a voice speak so clearly. It said, ‘Son, you’re going about it wrong. I don’t want a consecration like this. Just tear up the paper you’ve written.’ I said, ‘All right, Lord,’ And I took the paper I had written so carefully and wadded it up. Then the voice of God seemed to whisper again, ‘Son, I want you to take a blank piece of paper and sign your name on the bottom of it, and let Me fill it in.” And that was exactly what Everett Howard did, and for the next 36 years, God filled in that page, one day at a time.
Yes, he later recounted, he was glad, very glad he didn’t know what was on that page, but he found that when you are committed to God’s plan for your life, He’ll use you the way He sees best.