Posted tagged ‘commitment’

“C” Words We Try to Avoid

May 9, 2014

by Steven J. Callis

I attended the memorial service of a lifelong friend last week. What he thought to be severe sinus, then a wisdom tooth problem, then TMJ, turned out to be cancer in the neck and throat. He would have preferred dental surgery over chemo and radiation, for sure. The battle lasted less than a year.

Cancer is a cruel enemy. It likes to be in charge. It demands its own way. It gives no thought to setting its own time schedule and ignoring one’s priorities. It is painful and debilitating. It refuses to succumb even to the pleas of the wealthy and healthy and powerful and beautiful. It cares nothing for age, gender, ethnicity, education, or politics. It is a friend to no one.

Commitment is another “C” word many people like to avoid. It, too, is very demanding. It insists on being number one. It expects to be permanent; to be written in stone. It has no room for slackers and half-hearts. Like cancer, it will not be compromised by age, gender, ethnicity, education, or politics. It will not give in to the rich and powerful. From the least to the greatest of those who choose it, commitment demands absolute loyalty.

My friend is an example of what these words can do to a person. He did not choose cancer, it chose him. In its normal fashion, cancer turned his world upside down and did a number on him physically, emotionally, and spiritually. It is a disease that cannot seem to help itself. Yet, its havoc-wreaking attack did not cause complete devastation. That was its goal, but it failed.

For in the midst of this intense battle, priorities of life were examined and commitments were evaluated. Despite all the bad it caused, the battle led my friend to a place where his faith in Christ and his love for others were solidified. Oh, he had faith, and he had friends and family, but these changes in his life circumstances made his focus more about others and less about self. His Cancer became a Catalyst for Complete Commitment.

We would expect a bleak prognosis such as untreatable cancer to send its victim into a frightening, dangerous, downward spiral of emotions and energy. Not so for my friend and others who become motivated to settle their debates and unanswered questions. His newfound commitments gave him a peace, a positive outlook, and a heart for those around him.

Cancer is not the key to that equation. Commitment is the key. It is a “C” word that will be your friend and take you to the better places of life when you give yourself to it. That is especially true when your highest commitment is to your relationship with Jesus Christ.


Is Your Game Face On?

August 24, 2013

Is Your Game Face On?

By Steven J. Callis


Little Larry was a new student in Miss Collins’ kindergarten class.  She asked him if he could name the four seasons of the year.  Larry proudly replied, “Winter, Spring, Summer, and Football!”

Yes, it’s that time again for the bears and wildcats and rams and cougars and lions and bulldogs and pioneers and warriors to hit the gridiron.  The most common nickname in college sports is the Eagle, followed by the Panthers, and then the Tigers.  College nicknames tend to follow in line with traditional mascots, but there are some exceptions.  For example, this fall you might see the Scorpions, Blue Hose, Bonnies, Johnnies, Tommies, Trolls, Horned Frogs, Jumbos, Gila Monsters, and my favorite, the Fighting Pickles playing football.

However, I have not found a helmet or uniform that is adorned with a mouse.  I suppose that is reserved for online schools only.  Every student gets to hold the mascot during online class!

No matter how common a school’s nickname may or may not be, it does seem to serve as an identifier, and also a unifier.  We take pride in who we are, and what we represent.  We wear our colors, protect our mascot, paint our faces, and with raised index finger shout at the TV camera as it spans our section of the bleachers, “We’re number one!”

And among that fan-atical crowd we find distinctions in gender, race, economics, grade point averages, politics, and interests, all united under one name that we bear with passion.  We have rallied for a cause.

My senior year in high school was in a brand new school that merged 4 existing schools into one.  Few of the seniors were happy about having to leave their true alma mater for one year at a new school. There were many challenges, obstacles, and conflicts to overcome.  One event that helped to unify this befuddled and somewhat belligerent student body was the privilege of determining the school nickname from a list of 3 choices.  With overwhelming solidarity, we became the Raiders, and many years later that school still stands and bears the Raider emblem.  Our game face was red, white, and blue.

What does your game face look like, in life, that is?  What drives you?  What is the passion that motivates you?  What does it look like when you are living from the center of your heart?  More poignantly, how does that passion impact those around you: your family, friends, school, church, workplace, and community?  How does that passion effect your world?

In the past it was called “giving it 110%.”  Today, athletes are exhorted to “leave it all on the field.”  Oh, that it could be said of me when I leave this earth, “He left it all on the field, and he did it for the glory of Christ.”