By Russell DeLong
Acts beyond the call of duty are always inspired by a supreme devotion to a great cause. It is in such moments that the finest in man is manifest. The basic law of life is that one finds his best when he gives himself to the best. Jesus gave us this truth when He declared, "He that findeth his life shall lose it, but he that loseth his life . . . shall find it." It is in giving that we find and in losing that we gain. Those that are remembered are those that have given.
Numberless examples of unselfish sacrifice dot the pages of history. Everyone thrills at the story of the small Greek band of heroic soldiers at the Pass of Thermopylae. During World War II when the enemy was driving the Allied forces off the continent and into the English Channel it was a brave, courageous company of English flyers who died to save thousands at Dunkerque.
A general commanded his own son to carry out a very dangerous operation. He was almost killed. After the heroic deed the boy said to his father, "Why did you order me to undertake such a dangerous mission?"
The general replied, "Son, I needed someone whom I could trust and I knew loved me as I know you do."
In our daily lives it is possible that the more painful, dangerous experiences God permits
us to go through may be a yardstick of God's love for us and our love for Him. "Whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth," St. Paul declared.
In the recent war the captain of a submarine was severely wounded. As he was stretched
out on the deck the enemy approached. All of the crew and the submarine itself were in danger. It was impossible to take the captain below in his wounded condition. Lying there helpless, knowing death was sure, he commanded, "Take her down." The crew hesitated. He ordered, "Take her down." As the submarine submerged he floated and drowned. There is an instance of supreme consecration to a cause.
A United States stamp came out commemorating the act of extreme heroism when four
chaplains refused to take to the lifeboats. With arms clasped together they died when they could have lived. Some things are more eternally worth while than biological life and animal pleasures.
In the great spiritual warfare millions of men have died as martyrs to the cause of Christ.
Such heroism requires supreme consecration.
The giving of one's self to the Kingdom means a cross, a discipline, a suffering. It indicates the willingness to lose personal pleasures, financial gains, and popular acclaim for the Master. He must be Lord of all or He is not Lord at all.
Jonathan Edwards, one of America's greatest ministers and philosophers, when only
nineteen years of age made his life's commitment and wrote it down. It is dated January 12, 1723. Here it is -- listen:
"I made a solemn dedication of myself to God and wrote it down; giving up myself and all I had to God, to be for the future in no respect my own; to act as one that had no right to himself in any respect; and solemnly vowed to take God for my whole portion and felicity, looking on nothing else as any part of my happiness, nor acting as if it were; and his law for the constant rule of my obedience, engaging to fight with all my might against the world, the flesh, and the devil, to the end
of my life."
C. T. Studd, one of the great contemporary Christians, made a unique consecration. He said he died to the appeals of the world and "acted as though he were dead." Therefore he said, "Nothing that happens to me matters." He was wholly alive to Christ and the Kingdom and completely dead to the things of the world and Satan.
Susanna Wesley, the great mother of John and Charles, the founders of Methodism, once
wrote to John regarding his consecration what has become a classic declaration.
"Whatever weakens your reason, impairs the tenderness of your conscience, obscures your sense of God, or takes off your relish of spiritual things; whatever increases the authority of your body over your mind, that to you is sin."
St. Theresa uttered a sublime and hallowed classic when she exhorted,
"Let nothing disturb thee;
All things are passing;
God never changeth:
Patient endurance attaineth all things;
Who God possesseth in nothing is wanting;
Alone, God sufficeth."
Madame Guyon wrote:
"I worship Thee, sweet will of God,
And all Thy ways adore;
And every day I live I seem
To love Thee more and more.
Ill that He blesses is most good,
And unblest good is ill.
And all that seems most wrong is right
If it be His sweet will."
The sainted Susan N. Fitkin, one of the outstanding Christian women leaders of this
century, when but a girl penned her consecration as follows:
"I am willing
To take what Thou givest,
To lack what thou withholdest,
To relinquish what Thou takest,
To go where Thou commandest,
To be what Thou requirest,
I am, O Lord, wholly and forever Thine.
In closing this service I am asking the choir to sing Adelaide Pollard's classic of
consecration. Listen to these sublime verses-
"Have Thine own way, Lord!
Have Thine own way!
Thou art the Potter; I am the clay.
Mold me and make me after Thy will,
While I am waiting, yielded and still
Have Thine own way, Lord! Have Thine own way!
Hold o'er my being absolute sway!
Fill with Thy Spirit till all she see
Christ only, always, living in me."