Tonight on ESPN, the “bottom line” scrolled across with details about various college football prospects and their commitments to play for NCAA schools. With National Signing Day looming in a few weeks, these kinds of reports are fairly common this time of year. What caught my eye, though, were the reports of several prospects “decommitting” from one school in order to sign with another. This, too, is not uncommon; often times a top prospect will change his mind at the last second or a coaching change will prompt a change of heart or any of a number of other things could happen. But that word — decommitted — struck me tonight. I’m pretty sure that’s a word we’ve had to invent to describe this whole process. “I was once committed to TCU, but when Coach So-and-So left, I decommitted and signed with the Longhorns.” It’s a benign word, like saying you “misremembered” something. Or calling something “inexpensive”.
Decommittment is an epidemic today. It’s actually one of the calling cards of my generation. You could argue that Generation X is pretty much the most shiftless, narcissistic, unmotivated generation of citizens our nation has ever seen. I guess that sounds crass, but I don’t know any other way of saying it. Thankfully the Millenials actually care about God’s projects of love and justice and peace.
There’s a billboard here in town that depicts several different churches, mosques, and synagogues with huge print above them that reads, “YOU KNOW THEY’RE ALL SCAMS.” This ad is paid for by a local atheist group that’s holding some sort of convention or rally next weekend. I know a lot of people look at organized religion with a raised eyebrow these days and if I had to guess, I’d say a lot of their skepticism has to do with a lack of commitment on the part of so-called believers. Most atheists I know pride themselves on living in truth and they characterize people of faith as mindless peons who are being duped by the manipulative charlatans that stand behind pulpits and preach piety while living indulgently. I think it’s a false characterization, but we have to concede that the skeptics at least have a point when it comes to the whole commitment thing. The claims of faith are so great that we cannot easily “decommit” to them as we see fit. On the contrary, these are the moments that require greater commitment on our part. Make no mistake, it’s not about perfection. But, at the very least, isn’t following Jesus about commitment?
In his great new book One.Life, Scot McKnight speaks of discipleship and commitment:
Jesus doesn’t want just your talents. He doesn’t want just your dreams. He doesn’t want just your abilities. He doesn’t want just your mind. He doesn’t want just your job. He doesn’t want only your grades. He doesn’t want just your boyfriend or girlfriend. He doesn’t want just your money. He doesn’t want just your kids or your spouse. He doesn’t want just your gifts.
He wants you.
He doesn’t want something from you, he wants you.
He wants your One.Life.
He wants you to live the Committed.Life.
He isn’t asking you to commit to a system or an idea or an ideal. He isn’t asking you to throw yourself into a religion or a logical system. First and foremost, and without this the whole thing crumbles into a deconstructed myth, he wants you to commit yourself unreservedly to him.