Let’s Talk About Commitment

030Luke 14:28 – For which of you, desiring to build a tower, does not first sit down and count the cost, whether he has enough to complete it.

This verse is always brought up to teach us about the importance of managing our money.  It is easy to see why.  Common sense says that when you are planning to build something you need to make sure that you have enough to complete it.  If you don’t then you will be an example of how you ought NOT to do things.  So, I will echo the admonishment of many who have gone before me.  Save your money and make sure you have what you need before you build something.  I don’t think that is the whole lesson though.

The word “cost” is what slowed me down as I read this verse yesterday.  When I buy something I pay a price, but cost is something different.  Cost is what it takes to produce something.  It is not just a financial term.  A cost contains resources, time, knowledge, overhead, transportation, research, design, and not just a few other little things.  Those costs will help you to determine a price, but even then, the price may not be equal to the cost.  At times things will be sold for a huge profit, but there are other things that are almost always sold below cost.  Price is volatile, cost moves slowly.  You can have an item on a shelf and change its price, but you did not change its cost.  Confused yet?

Counting the Cost

The picture at the top of this post shows a man who was committed to his cause.  I think of another Man who was committed to His cause as well.  We are about to celebrate His resurrection on Easter.

Jesus_On_Cross

Jesus Christ counted the cost before He came to earth as a child to live, love, and then be killed by those He came to save.  He knew what would be required of Him. He knew there would be times of great joy, and there would be times of pain before His ultimate death, but He decided the cost was worth it because we were worth it.

What are we as men, husbands, and fathers required to be committed to?  What is the cost we must face?  Is it to put aside our plans for a weekend?  Is it to put off spending money on something we wanted to own?  Let’s face it, we live a pretty easy life compared to the one that Christ was called to live.  He is my example of commitment.  He is the reason I stand and proudly say I love my wife and my kids.  He is my example of servant leadership that drives me to give my family what they need of me.

I don’t always get it right.  I’m not Christ.  I fail.  I mess up.  You wanna know something?  That is all factored into the cost!  No matter if I am getting it right or not, I am not giving up.  My failures, while not pleasant, are expected, and I don’t have to dwell on them.  I learn from them and I move forward stronger, smarter, and better equipped to help someone else with the same thing.

In February 1519, Hernando Cortez set sail on the final leg of an ocean voyage that was to take him from Cuba to the distant shores of the Yucatan. He commanded 11 ships with more than 500 soldiers, 100 sailors, and 16 horses, bound for Mexico to take the world’s greatest treasure. The rare jewels, gold, silver, and sculptures sheltered on the Yucatan had been hoarded by the same army for 600 years.

Cortez had heard of riches of the Yucatan. With his men they arrived on shore. They did not go and take the treasure immediately, they waited until they were ready.

Then Cortez told his men to “Burn the boats.”

The men were outraged wondering how they were going to get back to their families! Cortez told them to burn the boats and they would conquer the Yucatan army and gain their fortune. They would take the Yucatan’s boats home.

So often, we give ourselves a back-up plan. We want to make sure that we have something to fall back on if things go wrong.  NO!  You see, by giving yourself a back-up plan, that becomes the plan.

Commitment means there is no turning back. Success is the only answer, and there is no alternative that is acceptable.  This is the cost that must be counted in our families today.

People today are getting married with the thought “I hope this works” in their hearts and minds.  I think that is just sad.  Tammi and I committed to each other that we will never give up on our marriage.  We made this promise to each other, but more importantly to our heavenly Father, and we are not going to go back on that promise.  We’ve joked that murder is still an option, but never divorce.

Commitment is being all in, no matter what happens.  As life hits us time and again we have to get back up.  It is not for ourselves, but for those we are responsible for.  I’m here for my wife, for my kids, and for my grandkids to come!  I want them all to look back and see the legacy of commitment that has been left for them.  It is vital in our families because it is so lacking today in our world.

I hope that anyone who might be reading this and is feeling discouraged can hang on to at least one thing I said.  That would be that Christ counted the cost of your salvation as a price that He was willing to pay.  He would do it again for you tomorrow, and if you would like to know more about why He would have been willing to do that for you, please reach out to me and I would love to share more about it with you.

In HIS Grip,

Tom

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Meanderings

Brook

Proverbs 18:2 – A fool does not delight in understanding, But only in revealing his own mind.

This verse hit me like an axe handle to the head yesterday when I read it.  Hmmm. Reading it again now, should I be blogging about it?  Well, I think it is okay for the circumstances.  I like to read the passages in the Bible that talk about the fools.  It is kinda like one of those little games where you have to find a person you know to fit into all of the different categories.  “Oh, this fool would be ___________”!  Yeah, I know, not a very nice thing to do, and I’m sure I am the only one that has ever done it.  I’ll wait while we all pray for forgiveness…

Reading this yesterday I was immediately struck by my own sin though.  I like to be heard, and I like people to understand me more than I want to understand them.  It hurts when you see something about yourself that requires a change so bluntly said.  The nice thing is that God loves me enough to give me His Word to remind me about my struggle in this area.  I need to be more caring toward others, to listen to their thoughts, their struggles, and their opinions.  I think God is using this verse to point out a real weakness in my life that He wants to use.  He knows me, and that means He knows how deep this is ingrained in me, so that means He is prepared for the long haul as I learn to master this weakness with His help.

Dad-Life

I’ve got two great kids at home, and I am excited to see what God is going to do in their lives.  My daughter is such a sweet, beautiful girl (yes, much like her mother!) and she has such a heart for God! My son is growing so fast.  He is tall, lean, and a good looking kid (again, thankful for my wife’s DNA) and he loves to use his talent at the guitar in the praise band at church.  I don’t know what I did to deserve two kids as great as this.  Frankly, at times it scares me.

I’ve had a couple of things come up recently that remind me that I need to be more intentional as a Dad.  I know I am with my kids more than a lot of Dads get to be with their kids, and I am thankful for that.  We do fun things together, go on trips, eat meals, watch movies, and a lot of other stuff too.  Those are important things, and I know that it will provide them some great memories one day to share with their kids.  Is it enough?  I don’t think so.

It is time for me to step up my game.  The stark reality is that I have a quickly dwindling amount of time with my kids at home.  I need to be more Relentless about putting the Truth of God’s Word into their hearts and minds.  I need to be a better model of what a man is for my daughter so she will find a good man of her own!  I need to be a biblical model of a man for my son so he see what he should be focused on.  I just want my kids to have the best Dad that they can.

I’m going to be working on some plans for some things I intend to do with my son over the next few years.  I think it will be exciting, and I am looking forward to sharing it with some other men that I intend to bring into this to help me and to influence Zach as well.  There will be a lot of work, but I am looking forward to seeing it all come together.  From what I have heard about other fathers and sons that have done this, it should be a tremendous thing for us both.

Well, I think I will call this complete for tonight.  Just wanted to share some things that have been on my mind and in my heart lately.  If it helped somebody else, drop me a line and let me know.  I’d love to hear from you.  God Bless!

In HIS Grip,

Tom

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Building a House

building-manPsalm 127:1 – Unless the Lord builds the house, those who build it labor in vain.

Over the last almost 19 years of my life I have had a lot of projects to work on here at my house.  We have renovated, repainted, resurfaced, and replaced a lot of stuff.  Some of it was fun to do, and some of it was a royal pain, but at the end of the projects I have always been able to look at it and say that it was worth it.  Sometimes just barely, but worth it nonetheless.

In reality, I love doing construction and restoration projects.  It gives a sense of pride in a job well done, and I usually learn something along the way.  I’m currently working on finishing a breezeway for my in-laws, and this has given me an opportunity to play with some wiring I have not done before. It also gave me an opportunity to deal with a big frustration that I have. WASTING TIME

There is nothing more frustrating for me when I am working on a project than when I realize that what I have been doing is wrong and needs to be re-done.  That happened on this project last weekend as I had to go back over wiring that was not working properly.  I’m not an electrician, but I have done this stuff before and now it isn’t working!  It took me about 30 minutes to find that a wire had gotten disconnected as I pushed things back into a box.  No harm done, no materials wasted, but time and effort that I can never get back is gone for good.

In building you always lose time with a mistake.  You lose the energy that you put into doing something wrong the first time.  You often lose materials that were cut to the “right size” for the job.  These things each carry their own type of expense.  Some of that expense is felt more in one person than it would be in another.  The time and effort lost are my biggest frustrations because I tend to take my mistakes apart and try to use them in the future when I have another project, but that still leads to spending more  money that I don’t always have.

Avoiding these mistakes requires planning.  If I know what I am supposed to do and have thought it out it should go better.  I will have a clear vision of what I am going to do and what the finished product should be, and that will minimize a lot of errors.  Another thing is to have everyone on the same page.  When building with someone else you have to keep those lines of communication open so you don’t end up finding out that one of you was building a treehouse and the other was building an outhouse!

Psalm 127:1 – Unless the Lord builds the house, those who build it labor in vain.

This verse is not referring to the physical house, but to the household.  One is just a shell that holds the other.  We get so wrapped up in working on our houses, but how much focus do we put on what we are building inside them?  I get so angry when I have to tear out wiring or replace drywall, but do I get equally upset at the wasted time, or efforts (usually a lack of effort) in building into my family?

Sadly, not as angry as I should be, and not often enough.  I get wrapped up on something else, and I miss the important things and opportunities.  Not as much as I used to, but I still need to improve.  I am angry at myself for missing things, for not taking time to talk about important things.  I am making changes to try to better use my time and my energy for building into my marriage and my kids.

I’ve started by looking more at the Plan. The time I spend in God’s Word has really opened my eyes to see things that I would have missed before.  I’m learning better tools for dealing with my shortcomings, and this will allow me to be a better Dad and Husband.  God wants me to build a family that honors Him and brings Him glory.  He wants me to raise His children and teach them to love and serve Him with the gifts that He has given them.  He wants me to teach them to seek Him in all aspects of their lives by showing them that He is in all aspects of mine! I have about 18 years to do this.  Am I wasting time?

I’m looking at other “builders” too.  It is good to have friends that are willing to talk about their struggle balancingcareer, marriage,and parenthood.  They will share their highs and lows.  They give tips on how to achieve similar good results and warnings on how to avoid their failures.  This is how God wants us to work! Look to those who have been there and seek the wisdom of those who have been through similar situations.

I only have two kids to work with. (That’s enough!) I have made some mistakes with them, and I won’t be able to fix all of that.  No parent can.  What I can do though is be honest with them and show them where I have been wrong.  I can work with them to repair some of that and give them ideas on how to avoid making that some mistake with their own kids one day.  The only waste is in not acknowledging that a mistake was made.  We can still learn!

I can’t allow the frustrations over my shortcomings to blind me to the grace God shows me every day.  Even when I miss an opportunity to do the right thing as a husband, God has been good to give me a sweet wife who forgives and allows me another opportunity to show her I love her and want to be God’s man for her.  My kids are forgiving and see that their Dad loves them in spite of the mistakes he makes, and that he is trying to get better.

I hate working for no reason.  God has given me purpose in my life.  He has given me a family to lead.  I want to lead them to a close relationship with Him.  I want God to be the lead builder in my home because I am working with very precious materials here.  The margin for error needs to be slim. I’m building with God and His people to build a legacy that honors Him through the family He has given me..