The temptation is to avoid commitment. It is what most people lack and why most people are alone. Commitment means to put one’s name on the line. It means taking up responsibility. Signing up to be counted upon. It is systematic, consistent, and intentional. The degree to which we invest in one another’s lives is the degree to which we experience community.
If someone tells me that I can call them any time, day or night, I do not necessarily feel that they are committed to me. When someone asks how they can help, I am not impressed by their friendship. But when someone tells me that they will show up regularly to spend time with me, I feel that they genuinely care and therefore feel closer to them as a person. Making vague offers of help or attending only special event ministries are ways of making a show of care and concern. It is to show others and one’s own self the participation necessary to maintain esteem. A sure sign is being noncommittal to invites in order to maintain an off-ramp; it is much about maintaining control.
Committing oneself is companion to giving up control over one’s future.
Another aspect is assertiveness. When someone tells me that they are coming to do me a kindness, and will not be refused, then they have gotten specific and are determined to serve me. So I feel loved. Instead of wanting credit for a vague expression of concern, they are determined to help in some way.
Luke 1:2. The picture of a servant strikes me so vividly with its anonymity and hard but long suffering work. It reminds me of what I read in William Manchester’s “A World Lit Only by Fire” where the serfs of the dark ages lived through many generations laboring on a cathedral that they would never see completed, and how nothing ever seemed to change. O God, so many years those were when your gospel was corrupted and lost from the visible church. And how great and wretched was the darkness devouring all of those souls. Were there but a few who held to you then with so little light to see by?