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The Secret to Commitment

By Dan Vis
February 24, 2020
Comments: 32

As we close out the second month of the new decade, I decided to pull out an old memo that builds on the topic of value I shared last week. Here, we look at how value leads to commitment. Vital information every leader should know!



There are a lot of important principles that go into building an effective discipleship team: properly promoting the class, choosing the right time and place to meet, a solid orientation meeting, a curriculum based on the right building blocks, how well you follow the biblical model for training, and much more. But these keys are only part of the solution.

The real challenge is getting the members of your team to commit!

To put it differently, leading your team is just 5%, the rest is getting your team to follow! Without committed buy-in, all the training in the world will do little good. To build a truly effective training ministry, we must come to understand what the Bible teaches about commitment.

Seeing Value
While the word "commitment" is not found in the Bible, Jesus actually told several parables on the subject:

Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto treasure hid in a field; the which when a man hath found, he hideth, and for joy thereof goeth and selleth all that he hath, and buyeth that field.

Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto a merchant man, seeking goodly pearls: Who, when he had found one pearl of great price, went and sold all that he had, and bought it. Matthew 13:44-4644 Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto treasure hid in a field; the which when a man hath found, he hideth, and for joy thereof goeth and selleth all that he hath, and buyeth that field. 45 Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto a merchant man, seeking goodly pearls: 46 Who, when he had found one pearl of great price, went and sold all that he had, and bought it.

In both of these parables, the men clearly demonstrated commitment. Both were highly motivated to achieve the object of their desire. And both of these men were successful in acquiring what they wanted. From this we see that commitment is essential to success. Without it, there can be no effective training.

Perhaps more important--these parables show that commitment comes through correctly discerning the value of an object. The first man went and sold all that he had "with joy" for he knew the worth of that treasure hid in the field. Likewise, the merchant eagerly sacrificed all to acquire that one special pearl, for it was "of great price." Neither saw their purchase as a loss, but rather as a gain. The same is true of training. When a person correctly grasps the value of what they are learning--they become committed.

The key to keeping a group committed through an extended training program begins with communicating the value of that training. If you are wanting to teach memorization, encourage them to visualize the impact of having hundreds of verses alive and fresh on the tip of their tongue; the potential of being able to live a life of consistent, diligent discipleship; the joys of being able to share their faith with friends and consistently see at least some come to Christ. And then do it again and again. When the value is clear, commitment will follow.

On the other hand, let your group lose sight of your training's value--and things quickly degenerate into a string of endless objectives. Team members will lose heart. To persevere, we must encourage them to keep the prize constantly before their eyes (Philippians 3:13-1413 Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, 14 I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.). They must look ahead to the joy set before them (Hebrews 12:2Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.). We must teach them to focus on value.

Count the Cost
Of course, the other side of commitment is also revealed in these parables--that there is a cost for things of value. And there is definitely a cost to training: coming to meetings on time; faithfully completing one's Bible studies in advance; memorizing assigned verses--and quoting them word-perfect; participating in group discussions; carrying out witnessing objectives; praying faithfully for fellow team members. All are essential! And all take self-denial and sacrifice.

A lack of commitment will lead to half-hearted efforts in these areas, and in time, will spread and weaken the resolve of others in the group to give their best. A high level of commitment, in contrast, will not only motivate group members to strive for excellence, it will encourage others who see it to excel as well. It will spur the entire group toward success.

The Bible is clear about the power of our influence: "exhort one another daily . . . lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin. For we are made partakers of Christ, if we hold the beginning of our confidence stedfast unto the end" (Hebrews 3:13-1413 But exhort one another daily, while it is called To day; lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin. 14 For we are made partakers of Christ, if we hold the beginning of our confidence stedfast unto the end;). The prize goes to those who finish--but without accountability, it is all to easy to quit short of the goal! Sin comes in so subtly, and we end up distracted or discouraged. But the solution is clear: exhortation. "Consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works . . . exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching" (Hebrews 10:24-2524 And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works: 25 Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.). The closer we get to the end, the more important it's going to become!

In order for a team to be successful, each member must understand the power of their influence. Each must recognize their personal responsibility to encourage others in the group, by their example and words. For it is only when each person gives their individual best--and challenges others to do their best as well, that the group will realize its full potential. Together, the group must press forward together in pursuit of its shared objective: becoming workers for Jesus Christ.

This is what it means to count the cost. Before joining a training program, we must challenge each person to evaluate their commitment, and the impact of their influence, right at the outset. "For which of you, intending to build a tower, sitteth not down first, and counteth the cost, whether he have sufficient to finish it?" (Luke 14:28For which of you, intending to build a tower, sitteth not down first, and counteth the cost, whether he have sufficient to finish it?). Commitment requires weighing the cost, and then determining to pay the price.

The Bottom Line
Ultimately, these are always the two factors involved in commitment. It's a formula that compares the cost of the object with the value that comes from obtaining it. When we focus on the value, and that value clearly outweighs the cost, we manifest commitment. And the bigger the span between cost and value, the more committed we become!

The opposite is also true. The more closely cost and value compare with each other, the more ambivalent we become. And should the cost ever appear to outweigh the value, commitment will quickly fade.

What about you? How much value do you place on becoming a worker for Jesus Christ? Are you willing to do what it takes to truly follow Him? Do you understand the power of personal influence, and are you determined, to inspire others with the value of the training you offer? To urge others, by your own personal example, to pay the cost, and give their best?

That's the real question, isn't it? How committed are you?



Comments

How important is motivation? Commitment? Focusing on value? Counting the cost? Share an experience related to one of these concepts in the comments below. What practical things do you do to inspire motivation in others?

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Posted by Dan Vis on 10/05/22
Perfect cross reference on this topic Jo. Definitely one of the verses that shaped my thinking on this. Great post!
Posted by Joanne Laing on 10/04/22
The big question for me is "how much do I value Christ?" The passage in Philippians 3:7,8But what things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ. . . . Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ, comes to mind. "But what things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ. Yea, doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord; for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ."
Posted by Dan Vis on 09/30/22
That's a beautiful illustration of this process Esther. You were only able to really commit after 1) knowing what that class required, and 2) assessing the benefits would be worth it. If we aren't aware of the full cost, we can't fully commit. And if we don't grasp the benefits, we won't commit. We need both! Nice post...
Posted by Esther Hanson on 09/29/22
“Commitment requires weighing the cost, and then determining to pay the price.” This sentence really spoke to me. As I considered taking the Revival School class (knowing some of the commitments I had already made that would definitely take time away from concentrating on it) I prayed earnestly about it. As I kept reading about what the class entailed I knew it was exactly what I needed and wanted to learn. I prayed up to the last minute then decided to “commit” to doing what I saw of great value to me even though I was worried about the time it would take. I am still happy I joined this class, and I am determined to stay committed to finishing this course…..but there’s a lot!! : o

Thank you, Julio, for your comment that the cost of discipleship is the cost of our time. And oh, how true! But like you said, it not only blesses those we minister to, but it blesses us also. I, too, have experienced the joy after doing something for someone else when I just wanted to please myself. I will remember Matthew 11:28-3028 Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light. when I need another pep talk from Jesus!! I know He is always ready to help me. AND I know Pr. Dan and his team are here to help, too!! : )
Posted by Dan Vis on 09/27/22
Wow, lot's of great points in there Julio. Your point about the heartache that comes to young couples who commit without counting the cost is a lesson for us. And your thoughts about how the Word revitalizes, making God's work "easy and light" were both really insightful! Thanks for sharing...
Posted by Julio Useche on 09/27/22
Whenever I think of commitment I'm reminded of marriage. A couple often commit themselves to each other in matrimony without counting the cost and ignoring many "red flags". Once in the marriage they realize the cost of commitment and sadly the result is often divorce. In our commitment to discipleship and discipling others the cost is our time. It really is a commitment to give to others of your time. Time is precious! We never get it back! But when we look at the value of investing our time in helping others we see its great worth! Self will always want to get in the way! So often I feel tired and wanting to just rest instead of giving a bible study, but after the bible study is over I am revived and joyful at sharing God's Word. It's amazing what the Word of God can do for us. It really makes sense of Jesus' words: "my yoke is easy, and my burden is light" (Matthew 11:28-3028 Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.). The value far outweighs the cost!
Posted by Dan Vis on 09/24/22
Nice Colette! Give me the link when it's done. I'll be happy to promote it! :) Thanks in advance Everton!
Posted by Colette Guthrie on 09/24/22
Thanks Dan. Working on getting Everton to do a video tutorial on how to use the Engine. Most of the persons who have graduated recently from the Crash Course from our centre are not using it much or not using it at all.
Posted by Dan Vis on 09/24/22
I love that story Amy. Was that your maternal and paternal grandfather. Just curious since I know your mom. :) It made a really nice point...

Also a good point Barbara, that when we want something, we need to really work at it--and that definitely leads to a sense of fulfillment and success. Nice post!

Colette, I love all those points about the special role a leader can have in keeping others motivated. You are a great work and doing an amazing job in your church! Thanks so much for everything you do to make disciples for Jesus...
Posted by Colette Guthrie on 09/24/22
I definitely see the necessity of helping others to see value. We had a small group going through Basic Training and I realised how easy it is to throw in the towel when the committment level in others is low. That really shows me the power of the leader to influence others, whether for good or not.

I know that people at church know I'm big on memorizing and they look to me for guidance so I am working on ways to get more people on the track. I've found that the one-on-one demos help so checking in on the people in my centre before they slip off track is key. Muliplying myself is the goal.
Posted by Barbara E. LaRose on 09/24/22
When I find something that I really enjoy, such as knitting, I learn everything I can about it. I read books, learn techniques, practice new stitches. Then when I knit that first sock or sweater and feel the accomplishment of finishing that project I really have to thank God for giving me the determination to stick with it and do it right. Learning to be a disciple has far more rewards then my knitting. But the same determination to achieve that goal and be able to teach others that they too can have the same blessings as I receive well that icing on the cake. Lord please help me to love your word and to long to be a true disciple be as pleasing and rewarding so that I never tire of being what you have called me to be for I long to please the Father as your son did. 🙏
Posted by Amy Tanner on 09/23/22
Your comment, Tonya, reminds me of times during my childhood listening to my grandpa talk about spiritual things. He was a man of few words, but when he spoke it was worth listening to and he had some beautiful miracle stories of what God had done for him. I remember one night after supper sitting around the table listening to the conversation, and I don’t know if it was about heaven or miracles or just about the great controversy and how real it is, but I still remember the how I felt, and the things of earth did, indeed, grow strangely dim, and I wanted to hold onto that feeling and never go back to ordinary life. We do need to keep God’s love, and Christ’s sacrifice, and heaven in our hearts and minds. It definitely helps to keep us strong in the fight.
Posted by Dan Vis on 09/23/22
Those last two passages are also a great encouragement about the need for exhortation!!! It help to have friends committed to encouraging us to keep our focus on Jesus! Thanks Louise!
Posted by Dan Vis on 09/22/22
Great tie in to this lesson Tonya. That's exactly right. The reward of seeking God is not just more of His Spirit, and more effectiveness here, it's a wildly incomprehensible eternal award there. Talk about value!!! Motivating for sure.

When I first became a christian, there was a song on the radio about heaven that I really loved, and it strengthened me so much when I was fighting some of those big early battlers. I have ever since spent a lot of time thinking about heaven. I even have tentative plans drawn up for the home I'm going to build there. It's going to be amazing!
Posted by Tonya Anspach on 09/22/22
Ellen White tells us we should contemplate heaven and all the beauty that it holds. If we do that on a daily basis, we can't help but count all things on earth as worthless. Definitely not worth the cost of losing heaven and eternal life with Jesus. I was at my small group the other day and out of nowhere we started talking about heaven and what was in store for us there. It was such an energetic discussion and it truly motivated each one of us to continue to strive for the prize.
Posted by Dan Vis on 09/21/22
Nice application of Matthew 6:21For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.. Many people get that confused and think it says people put their money where their heart is. But as you correctly pointed out Mike, people put their heart where their money is (ie, value). Great comment!
Posted by Mike Carner on 09/20/22
I agree that seeing value in something is a great motivator. Jesus tells us that where your treasure is (what you view as truly valuable) there will your heart be also (our motivation).
Posted by Dan Vis on 09/20/22
Exactly Sam. If we want to stay committed throughout Revival School, we need to be motivated. And that requires us to see the value of what we're pursuing. Excellent post!
Posted by Shawnda McKnight on 09/20/22
Motivation is the driving force for commitment. Without motivation, there would be no initiative. Motivation leads us to compare value to cost. Motivation shows that we really want it. It creates a hunger to accomplish your goals.
Posted by Dan Vis on 03/05/20
Great points Nena. Motivation is what drives (or fails to drive) behavior. And it needs to be something we're constantly assessing. That's one of the main things I evaluate each week during my weekly planning time. Making sure that stays white hot is one of my top priorities. Let it wane, and things will slip...
Posted by Nena on 03/05/20
Motivation is the driving force behind behavior. It really needs to be constantly examined before the God. If we don't calculate the cost, it will be divorced from reality. It’s probably easy to stick with it by repeating the value. I’m often encouraged by FAST, my friends and God. This experience always reminds me how to treat people around me.
Posted by Dan Vis on 03/01/20
Glad this was a blessing to you Eleonora! It's a slightly different way of thinking about things, but if you really master the concept, it can definitely help you to get a handle on the problem of commitment. Both in your life, and in the lives of those you train. Thanks for your comment!
Posted by Eleonora on 02/29/20
Thank you wery much for that highly valuable memo! That's something, I have to think about and where I will have to learn and change. To see the value and to exhort myself and others...
Posted by Qing Ling on 07/04/18
Galatians 5:9
A little leaven leaveneth the whole lump.

setting the example is crucial to getting any traction with multiplying. to inspire motivation in others, we need to be motivated ourselves. Drinking from the living well will motivate us and empower us to go out and leaven the whole lump - infiltrate and influence the entire church through our own excitement for the Word of God. Practically, this will mean not keeping to ourselves, but actually intentionally bringing up the ways that God's Word has been impacting our personal lives -sharing a testimony here and there about how God spoke intimately to us through His Word. This communicates to others the kind of value that God's Word is to us.
When I share testimonies like this with others, they get motivated... to a point. so I need to make plans to maintain contact with these same people who got the spark in their eyes when they saw what I had and wanted the same for themselves.. but then went home and life's weeds choked back their good intentions.. because they need that ongoing support for a little while before they finally cultivate the habit of spending quality time with God on their own.
It's like charging someone's car batteries that have gone flat. with a little bit of charge, they can start their car again...but a bit more charging time is needed before you can disconnect and their car can make the drive home without your battery power.
Posted by Dan Vis on 06/28/18
Wow, you've been busy Esther! :) Exciting to hear your enthusiasm. It will be exciting to see what God does through you in your church. Be sure to keep me posted and let me know if there's anything I can do to help. All the best!
Posted by Esther Hanson on 06/28/18
Thank you Dan, a hundred fold! This month I completed THE LOST ART, AWE, EXPLOSION BLUEPRINT, and now after reading this Monday Memo, I am so encouraged to press on and share all these wonderful resources which have blessed me so much in my walk with Jesus and my commitment to to Him to be His faithful witness. Your words:

"Just as we can't teach what we don't know ... We can't train something we don't do. So our personal growth is the most important key to training"

My heart is so full with gratitude to God and to FAST for helping me grow, and the need to keep growing, and the understanding of the importance of sharing it all with others. Praying for the right time to share FAST with our young new pastor. God be praised! Thank you also, Dan, for this ministry.
Posted by Dan Vis on 06/25/18
So glad to hear each of you found this article helpful. That's always an encouragement that we are on the right track in what we share.

All the best Valerie in either rekindling your group or getting a new one started. I'm sure God has just the right people in your church somewhere. It's just finding them.

Yes, you are right Joyce. These principles work in many contexts beyond just a FAST team. It's absolutely vital to incorporate a focus on things that build commitment and motivation in personal Bible work.

Congrats David! Excited to hear the good news. Keep us posted on the progress in your church! Exciting to hear what God is doing there in El Paso!

There is a lot in here Carole. And yes, so important to pray for our own commitment and motivation. So easy for that to fade without constant attention to the value of eternal realities. Glad you were inspired by this. :)
Posted by Carole Bliss on 06/25/18
In order to be successful with anything, we need to be motivated. I have to pray for this. We need to be committed to achieve what we set out to do. We need to remind ourselves, how much we need His Word in our hearts, we need to feed on them, as we go through trials, and we need to share them with others.
Encourage others, pray for others, be cheerful.
This message has so much in it to digest. Thank-you, Dan.
Blessings,
Carole
Posted by David Jeffrey Grabe on 06/25/18
Greetings, Pastor Dan & all my FAST Friends, in the Sweet Name of Jesus!

Thank you so much for this Monday Memo. Our Church Bd met yesterday and enthusiastically approved the Discipleship Group I wanted to help get started. I echo what Joyce & Valerie have stated: using these principles you have laid out to help our fellow members to "grow in grace & knowledge of Him & to send Biblical motivational text messages to "encourage our members to "see the value for what they are committing their time & energy to.
I especially appreciated your statement, "In order for a team to be successful, each member must understand the power of their influence. Each must recognize their personal responsibility to encourage others in the group, by their example and words. For it is ONLY when each person gives their individual best--and challenges others to do their best as well, that the group will realize its full potential."

Covet earnestly your prayers as I seek the LORD's direction in this opportunity for our church in El Paso!

Exodus 33:14And he said, My presence shall go with thee, and I will give thee rest.
Deuteronomy 33:25Thy shoes shall be iron and brass; and as thy days, so shall thy strength be.
I Samuel 7:12Then Samuel took a stone, and set it between Mizpeh and Shen, and called the name of it Ebenezer, saying, Hitherto hath the LORD helped us.   
Posted by Joyce Augustinis on 06/25/18
I can use these principles with my Bible study students and keep them working on growing in the knowledge of the faith. But especially growing in Christian experience. It's also a motivation to me to keep on being faithful in what I do each day to grow in grace.
Posted by Valerie Wise Burrell on 06/25/18
Reading this memo has increased my resolve to pursue the steps of Disciple-Making with the small worship group of which I am a part. We have not met for a few weeks and two of its members are moving away. There are few if any responses to my text messages yet after reading this I intend to send short but Biblical motivational texts so that there might be a re-interest kindled. I also see this change as an opportunity to create a new group.
I praise God, Dan, for the Monday Memos.


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