Committed or Just Involved?
Committed or Just Involved?
“I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race…” (2 Timothy 4:7).
Are You Committed or Just Involved?
Regardless of our position, title or role, when it comes to our cause, project, plan or relationship, we are either committed to it or we are merely involved in it.
Understanding the difference and discerning what our role should be in a given situation is critical, because commitment and involvement demand different levels of engagement, responsibility, sacrifice and selflessness. Being either committed or just involved will produce entirely different outcomes, both personally and organizationally.
Grapes and Thorn Bushes, Figs and Thistles
All of us can point to times in our workplace when we’ve been very committed and other times when we’ve been marginally involved. And most of us can relate to having served under committed or “just involved” leaders. Those attitudes, although internal, end up bearing very different kinds of external fruit.
If you’re a team member, your level of involvement or commitment will determine your level of engagement. Your level of engagement will have an impact on your team, your relationships and your workplace.
If you’re a leader, your level of involvement or commitment to your team and your mission will impact people, outcomes and the overall health of your organization.
In Matthew 7:16-18 Jesus poses this rhetorical question: “… Do people pick grapes from thorn bushes, or figs from thistles? Likewise, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit.”
Just like it would be silly to harvest grapes from thorn bushes or figs from thistles, it’s silly for any of us to expect commitment-type outcomes in our personal and professional lives when all we are willing to do is be merely involved.
Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah
In the year 597 BC King Nebuchadnezzar besieged Jerusalem and carried into exile many men and women of Israel. Among them were four young friends: Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah (also known as Belteshazzar, Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego). These young men teach us a great lesson about commitment:
Settle the issue before it arises.
After bringing the captives to Babylon, King Nebuchadnezzar made an image of gold and commanded: “As soon as you hear the sound of the horn, flute, zither, lyre, harp, pipe and all kinds of music, you must fall down and worship the image of gold that King Nebuchadnezzar has set up. Whoever does not fall down and worship will immediately be thrown into a blazing furnace” (Daniel 3:5-6).
Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego had committed to serve the one true God only and so refused to obey king’s order. When confronted they replied:
“If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to deliver us from it, and he will deliver us from Your Majesty’s hand. But even if he does not, we want you to know, Your Majesty, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up” (Daniel 3:17-18).
If I had to guess, this was not the first time these young men’s commitment to God and His truth was tested. Their commitment, even to the point of death, was settled in their hearts long before this circumstance arose, and long before they experienced God’s miraculous salvation from the fiery furnace. (Daniel’s test in the lion’s den comes later in the book.)
In the Maxwell Leadership Bible, John Maxwell uses this story to point out six lessons about developing and sustaining our commitment:
- Commitment usually begins with a struggle.
- Commitment seldom surrounds abilities or gifts.
- Commitment is a result of choices, not conditions.
- Commitment is fostered when we settle the issue before it arises.
- Commitment is enhanced by a deep trust in God.
- Commitment lasts when we remain single-minded.
God’s Call to Commitment
2 Chronicles 16:9 tells us: “For the eyes of the Lord range throughout the earth to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to him.…”
And Ecclesiastes 9:10 admonishes us to “Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might.…”
Finally, in Matthew 16:24-26 (ESV), Jesus issues this call to commitment: “… If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it. For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul? Or what shall a man give in return for his soul?”
Again We Ask: Are You Committed or Just Involved?
Developing and sustaining commitment, be it relational or professional, is not a linear process. It’s a daily practice that involves a series of daily choices. We’ll face temptations to revert back into mere involvement because it’s easier, less risky and much less emotionally taxing (or so it seems). We’ll try to convince ourselves and others that we’re fully committed when all the while we are attempting the impossible task of picking grapes from thorn bushes and figs from thistles.
Still, I have no doubt that all of us, deep down in our souls, want to one day be able to say: “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race.” That’s only possible though commitment.
So, what has your commitment been like lately?
- Are you truly committed to your team?
- Are you committed to applying all your might to whatever God placed before you?
- Is your heart committed to Jesus and His ways of loving and serving others?
- Are you committed to setting aside your personal interests and needs and considering others more important than yourself?
- Are you committed to trusting your heavenly Father regardless of present circumstances?
A heart attitude of commitment or mere involvement has certain external indicators. What is your “commitment indicator dashboard” telling you and others?
Maybe you have a distinct lack of commitment, or maybe you’ve decided to go back to marginal involvement because your commitment has been overlooked, ignored or disregarded. At whatever level you find yourself today, remember what the Lord tells us in Jeremiah 31:25 (ESV): “For I will satisfy the weary soul, and every languishing soul I will replenish.”
Step up and make the commitment, and God will give you the strength to sustain it.
“For the eyes of the Lord range throughout the earth to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to him…” (2 Chronicles 16:9).
Your Gift Makes This Work Possible
Are you finding value in the Lead Like Jesus devotionals, blogs and podcasts? If your answer is yes, would you consider a financial gift to help us continue to produce this valuable content? Your donation of $10, $15 or $20 will make a difference! Thank you!