Wednesday, July 21, 2010

What Difference Does Commitment Make?

When it comes to commitment, our world is in a much different place than it was years ago. In fact, I was just talking with some people the other day about how not only people have changed in their view of commitment, but so have companies. It used to be that companies sought to care for their employees, and employees would work 20, 30, even 40 years and then retire. Now companies lay people off to avoid having to pay full pensions, and workers rarely work for the same company for a long time.
When talking about commitment, there are so many areas we could venture:
Divorce- It used to be a very low percentage of people got divorced. When people made the commitment to marry, they usually stayed married. It is said that currently the divorce rate in America of first marriages is somewhere around 40-50%, 60% for second marriages, and 73% for third marriages!
Church Attendance- It is said that up to 76% of people say they are Christians, but only around 40% of people go to church regularly. There has been a great drop off in church attendance over the last 100 years. Less and less people make the commitment to regularly go to church, much less involve themselves in church work.
Volunteerism- Just from 2005 to 2009 the percentage of people who volunteered dipped from 29% to 27%. In my son’s baseball league and daughter’s softball league they have had great trouble getting managers and coaches. In fact, they have made it a requirement for coaches to umpire because they can’t get volunteer umpires!
I could go on, but the statistics show us people are choosing to not commit to things as much anymore. What difference does this make? The difference is that more and more we are living in a world where people are more concerned about themselves than about others. We are becoming and ingrown culture. Instead, we should live by the words of the apostle Paul, who said in Philippians 2:4- “Let each of you look not to your own interests, but to the interests of others.” Even Jesus, who was God in the flesh, took on this attitude, as we are told that He came “not to be served, but to serve and to give His life as a ransom for many.”
I think it is tremendously important to be people who make commitments, and keep them. A commitment is really like making a promise to others. When people don’t make and/or keep their commitments, they have lost the understanding of what it means to be people of their word. Because our world has become so selfish, we have lost the whole aspect of community and working together. What do you think?