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Part-time Christians

Everyone knows the difference between a full-time job and a part-time job.  A full-time employee gives more, receives more, and expects more from his employer.  A part-time job requires less time and less effort.  A person who takes a part-time job usually does so to receive extra income while he focuses most of his attention on his higher priorities.  A part-time employee is not deeply committed to his employer, nor is his employer deeply committed to him.  A part-time employee also understands that he does not receive the same benefits as a full-time employee.


When it comes to being a Christian, the Lord does not offer the option of a part-time relationship.  This is obvious from the high level of commitment that He has demanded from His disciples (Luke 9:23-24; 14:26-33; Matt. 10:37-39).  The Lord said, ďIf anyone wishes to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow MeĒ (Luke 9:23, emphasis SED).  There is no alternative whereby a true disciple of Christ may take up his cross only on every other day or only on Sundays.  The Lord requires His disciple to commit the rest of his life to Christ beginning on the first day He comes to Jesus.


However, it appears that many people are attempting to maintain part-time relationships with the Lord.  This partial commitment is evident in various ways.  Some are hot and cold, meaning that sometimes they are fervent for the Lord and His kingdom and other times they are apathetic or just outright disobedient.  Others consistently offer the minimum effort that they deem sufficient to satisfy their consciences.  Still others are hypocrites, acting as faithful Christians in the presence of some and as godless persons in the presence of others.


While these offer part-time service to Jesus Christ, they expect to receive the full benefits of being a disciple of Christ.  They want forgiveness of their sins, yet they do not fully repent.  They want reconciliation to God, yet they often fail to pray to Him.  They want to know God, yet they do not study His word.  They want entrance into the kingdom of heaven, yet they have little commitment to the church of Christ here on earth.  Can they honestly expect to receive the full blessings of Christ without fully committing to Him?  It is the Lordís prerogative to judge men as He wills, but they place themselves in a precarious position.


As a result of such part-time commitments by Christians, the body of Christ suffers.  The church is described as a body with each member functioning together for the good of the whole (see Rom. 12:3-5; 1 Cor. 12:12-30; Eph. 1:22-23; 4:11-16; 5:28-30).  When any member of the body fails in its function, the whole body suffers.  The church fails to accomplish its God-given work because the part-time members are unreliable and inconsistent.  Some such members simply never contribute to the work.  Others contribute only when it is convenient.  This makes it very difficult for the church to grow.  By comparison, a church with members who function only part of the time is like a person who does not know which parts of his body are going to work on which days.  He cannot make plans for tomorrow because he does not know if he will be able to walk or talk or stand.  His whole body is prevented from functioning because of the failure of a few members.


Understandably, there are circumstances which make the life of a Christian difficult for some.  The Lord did not promise that it would be easy.  In truth, nobodyís circumstances are perfect.  If we wait for everything to be perfect before we serve God, then we will never commit to Him.  We must not allow anything to become an excuse for our failure to do Godís will.  If you think that it is simply impossible for you to commit your full efforts to the Lord, then consider those Christians who live in far worse circumstances than you do who are fully committed to Christ.  Consider brethren through the ages who have given everything for the Lord.  How did they do it?  The truth is that they were willing to suffer hardship in His service that many of us are just not willing to suffer (2Tim. 2:3).


Every Christian should be motivated to a full commitment to Christ by considering the commitment that Christ has made to us.  Consider Philippians 2:5-11.  Jesus gave up the glory of being in the exalted position of God over the universe to be in the lowly position of a bond-servant to mankind.  Every effort in the life of Jesus was made according to the will of God and for the service of others.  The Lordís example is given for His disciples to imitate.  His self-sacrificing love for us provokes our love for Him and our brethren (1John 3:16; 4:7-12).  Therefore, love Him and commit yourself fully to Him and His kingdom.  Christ deserves nothing less.


Stacey E. Durham



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