Being Dedicated…

Posted on January 24, 2011
Filed Under Exhortation | 3 Comments

We often talk about being dedicated to God. But when it comes down to application, how often are we truly dedicated to Him?  Far too often, our dedication is limited by our own weaknesses. We allow the world to dictate what is classified as “dedication” and then only hold ourselves accountable to that standard. For example, we probably consider ourselves to be dedicated to the local church, and to assembling with the saints. However, when was the last time you missed an assembly? What was the reason? Sickness? Work? While a person may very well be ill enough to need to stay home, I hope that we can consider just what it means to be dedicated. Do we let the sniffles keep us from worshiping with the saints? Or some other rather insignificant illness?

We should make sure that we are not just looking for an excuse to stay away from the assembly of the saints. If we view them as unimportant, we may stay away when we know we really could be there. Often, we use Hebrews 10:25 as a battering ram to try and beat up on members that are not attending the public assemblies as they should. But, we should consider the intent behind this passage, and take a look at the broader context to this one verse.

Therefore, brethren, having boldness to enter the Holiest by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way which He consecrated for us, through the veil, that is, His flesh, and having a High Priest over the house of God, let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water. Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful. And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works, not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching. (Hebrews 10:19-25)

This passage shows that God has given us a reason to be in the assembly of the saints, a reason that will make us stronger spiritually every time we are obedient. We are supposed to assemble with the saints so that we can “consider one another in order to stir up love and good works.” We should have a desire to assemble with the saints! It should be one of our top priorities! Not only will we be strengthened, but we will help to encourage and strengthen others as well. When I miss the assembly of the saints, I am affected because I am not being edified. But, I am also not fulfilling my responsibility of edifying others. If I have the attitude that is commanded, then I cannot fail in my responsibility. In Philippians 2:4, Paul tells us that we should not look out only for ourselves, but for others as well. How are we looking out for others if we are allowing anything to interfere with our responsibility to encourage our brethren?

Recently I read a book entitled Vignettes of Virtue by Frank Richey. In it, Richey tells of Tolbert Fanning, who was gored by one of his bulls. Fanning initially survived the attack, but the injuries took their toll, and led to his demise. Richey relates the account as told by L. C. Chisholm:

I was with him night and day till he died. On that Sunday morning it was evident to him that the end was rapidly approaching, and he requested the brethren to hold services in his room. Though it was clear to all present that, he was rapidly sinking, he directed the entire service. A few minutes later two of his neighbor gentlemen called in. He called each by name and asked them to be seated. in less than five minutes he breathed his last, as if dropping off into a restful sleep.

Vignettes of Virtue, pp. 76-77

How many of us would have thought about attending services in such a condition, let alone think about hosting it at our homes? Many will read that and think he must have been crazy. He must have been a fanatic. I read it and think he must have been dedicated to the Lord and to his brethren. Even in this terrible condition, he thought about his brethren, and made an effort to encourage them. I for one, will be thinking about this man the next time I wake up with a scratchy throat, and think about missing the assembly of the saints!