I attended an awards dinner for a construction company. Of course, opportunities were taken to make speeches that could have an impact on future awards.
There were awards for safety performance. Which led to a very serious subject, the death of an employee the previous year in an accident. The administrative assistant – also the company owner’s wife -- made a comment during the presentation that it would be appreciated if in the future the men “would be married to the woman they were living with.”
In this particular instance, the employee’s death benefits were being processed for the woman the company had come to know as his wife. She used his name, lived in his house, attended company functions – in all, she was known as his wife. Except on a marriage certificate. That became evident when the un-divorced wife showed up to file for her husband’s death benefits. The result was not a comfortable situation in any courtroom.
Why is it we take commitments so lightly? That man stood before a legal authority and committed to remain a husband to his wife until death would part them. A good-sized percentage of such marriages fail.
Those decisions – to marry and to separate – have lasting consequences. Handled without legal considerations (much less emotional ties), the consequences can be costly and painful.
Even greater consideration should be given when professing a religious belief, making a lifetime commitment, later simply walking away. Specifically, on my mind are some who have walked away from their public commitment to follow a couple of commandments.
And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment (Mark 12:30 KJV)
Just using examples from my own experiences, one may leave for another church, but not to follow commandments. There are fewer rules. It’s more fun. More of the popular kids go there. There isn’t as much Bible reading. They talk more about every day things instead of long ago things and there are lots of games. Another is caught between two worlds. The family is fractured. Income is limited. Finances must stretch beyond belief. Clothing is hand-me-down. Getting to church is difficult, often asking for rides. Feeling bad about being so dependent on others. Besides, there’s this new, exciting person in mind. Still another dropped out of any church, ceased Bible reading. Going from a regular participate eager for answers to someone who says, “I don’t need that any more.”
Don’t jump to conclusions that a church has failed them. Staff, teachers, members, friends and extended family all encourage, exhort, pray and offer support, to no avail.
Give up? Not on your life. Actually, not on their life. They are important! They are special to God. We all pray for those who are walking away from God’s promises. Turning their back on His word and His work.
Should they return, they will be welcomed on earth with the same joy happening in heaven.
I say unto you, that likewise joy shall be in heaven over one sinner that repenteth, more than over ninety and nine just persons, which need no repentance. (Luke 15:7 KJV)