Devoted

Devoted

Rather than going to worship, young people often use the term “devotional.” I actually like what that term implies. It comes from the word “devoted,” and refers to an act that is completely committed to some cause or person. In these sessions, our young people devote themselves thoroughly to the Lord.

The reason I mention this is because so many, so often, enter into times of worship with apparently little intention of devoting themselves to anything that is said and done. Rather than devoted, they are disinterested.

This is biblical: The early followers of Christ were “devoting themselves to prayer,” we are told, “together with the women and Mary the mother of Jesus, and his brothers” (Acts 1:14). This is a common description of Christians in the New Testament. Paul calls on us to “rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant (i.e. “devoted”) in prayer” (Romans 12:12). Elsewhere he calls on us to “Continue steadfastly (i.e. devoted to”) in prayer, being watchful in it with thanksgiving.”(Colossians 4:2).

 In high school I met a young lady who invited me to a meeting of the Stamp Club. It was amazing how interesting collecting stamps could be when the speaker was a green-eyed brunette! She was club secretary, and I devoted the next few weeks to snatching people’s envelopes and securing stamps, displaying them in my book and bringing them to the club. It became apparent however, that not only was this young lady dedicated to collecting stamps, she was also dedicated to the club president, a young man two years my senior.

So my fascination with all things stamp collecting diminished. I began to miss meetings. She ran across my path as I was making my way from one school building to another. Her question was a little funny:

“I thought you were more devoted to stamp collecting than that.”

Well, truth be known, I wasn’t that dedicated to stamps. Must have been something else.

You know, it’s a sad day when we treat our Christianity, and the Lord’s church like a club, a past time, or a hobby. It’s not something we’re supposed to pick up for a time, then later look back on as a funny episode in our lives; it’s supposed to be a devotion to Christ, his church and his service!

It is not surprising, then, that we note that early Christians “devoted themselves” to a variety of Christian activities, “the apostles’ teaching and the fellowship and the breaking of bread and of prayers” (Acts 2:42). There are some things in life where a passing interest will simply not do; a devotion to it is the only and proper response. Devoted to Christ is one that we can do no less than offer our complete devotion.

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Stan Mitchell

Stan has preached since 1976, in Zimbabwe, California, Texas and Tennessee. He serves as preacher for the Red Walnut Church of Christ in Bath Springs, TN. He is currently Professor of Bible at Freed-Hardeman University. He is married to the former Marjorie McCarthy, and has one daughter, Tracy Watts. He is the author of four books: The Wise Get Wiser, the Foolish More Foolish: The Book of Proverbs, Give the Winds a Mighty Voice: Our Worship in Song, and Equipping the Saints for Ministry. He has recently published another book, "Will Our Faith Have Children: Developing Leadership in the Church for the Next Generation.

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