[The following is re-posted from my professional blog at www.hudsonumc.org/pastor]
Six and a half years ago I went before friends, family and God to make a sacred commitment. That commitment was to my new wife that I would care for her and remain with her even when it was really hard. She, amazingly, made the same commitment to me! As I held her and thought about this commitment I was not just starry-eyed and excited (there was that, too), but I also had a feeling of anxiety. I felt a little overwhelmed. Forever is a long time, you see.
That commitment means that even when I am angry. Even when she has really messed up, I am not going to just give up (and vice-versa). It means that we will work really hard to endure, even though we are both bound to break promises or make mistakes throughout our relationship. It means that we keep going even when the ‘going gets tough.’ I think you get the idea.
On January first my church will renew our vows to God and remember our baptism during a Wesley covenant service. It is not just the words we say to God, but recognizing that God claims us and remains committed to a relationship with us…even when we break our commitments.
So, if God commits to us even when we mess up or break our promises…why should we bother recommitting to God?
Well, it’s like a sound marriage. The other person may forgive you for messing up, but if the marriage is going to be positive and life-giving: both people have to work hard at the relationship.
We can know that God is seeking after us. We can know that God loves us and commits to us. Yet, it will not be a sound relationship if we do not also commit to God, seek after God and love God in return. Imagine a one-sided marriage, would that be pleasant for either person?
As we begin this new year, I encourage each person to think about their God who loves them and think about ways to be more faithful and committed to that God. Not because God’s love depends upon it, but because, like a marriage, sharing that commitment will enrich your life and enrich your relationship with God.