TITLE: Surrender 6/21/14
By Richard McCaw
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One of my sons became fascinated from a very early age with aeroplanes. Whenever a plane flew overhead, he would run outside and gaze in wonder at that bird-like machine in the sky.
“When you grow up, son?” I would ask him, “What would you like to become?”
He always replied. “I’m going to be a pilot!” He was always very definite about his dream. My dreams were more artistic, perhaps to become a great writer and a great musician one day. That changed suddenly, one Sunday morning at church sometime between twelve and one o’clock.
I sat to the right of the aisle, near the back of the congregation, tightly squeezed between two church brothers. After my conversion, I had been baptized at the age of fourteen at Assembly Hall on Orange Street in Kingston, Jamaica. This was another Brethren church, where every Sunday the congregation gathered to remember the Lord’s death by breaking bread and drinking wine. Packed like sardines on long wooden benches, men were all dressed in jackets and ties and women with hat-covered heads fanned away the heat.
When I walked into church that Sunday morning, full commitment to Christ was definitely not on my mind. Such dedication demanded giving up personal ambitions which were almost carved in stone, never to be removed. Nobody gives up cherished dreams except for some far better goal, or some challenge that supersedes strongly held ambitions.
I had proven myself successful, so I thought, with published poetry at the age of ten, and had taught myself part of a Beethoven’s sonata during one summer holiday. Nobody could stop me! I was sure I could accomplish anything.
During the worship, various brothers prayed and read scriptures relating to the crucifixion. In the quiet, strong emotion that could easily be felt, in my spirit I saw Jesus falling beneath the weight of the cross, then a soldier compelling Simon of Cyrene to carry the cross. I seemed to hear the voice of Jesus say, “I gave every ounce of strength for you! What will you give for me?”
I used to think, “If God called me to Africa or to the Amazon, I could not go.” How could I give up all my ambitions? I was like a child holding out a box of chocolates to his playmate and saying, “You can have anything on the top row, but the bottom row is mine!” “I’ll attend church regularly, read my Bible as often as I can, even pray some more. I’ll do the best I can at school, so others can see I’m following You, but I’ll still cling to my dreams!”
Still, those words ‘every ounce of strength’ kept ringing in my ears! ‘For me, for me, every ounce of strength for me!’ It was only reasonable to fully surrender to Him! Tears streamed down my fourteen-year-old face!
Suddenly, I yielded. “I’ll go where you want me to go!” I had received Jesus Christ the night before my thirteenth birthday as my personal Savior from sin. Now, He was taking me even deeper in our relationship. He was revealing Himself to me as supreme Lord. My Supreme Lord!
If you study carefully the book of Ezekiel, one thought occurs more frequently than any other. God keeps repeating to His people that ‘He is Lord!’ The term ‘Lord’ implies ownership, and possession. While this term was often used of men to mean ‘master,’ God reveals Himself as ‘Supreme Master of all.’ God continually repeats the phrase ‘that they shall know that I am the Lord.’
One Sunday morning, shortly after that experience, the leading elder of the church approached me after service. He was a ruddy-faced gentleman with dimples on both cheeks, graying hair and white moustache. “Richard,” he said without a smile on his lips, “It’s time to become active for the Lord! You should begin teaching Sunday School! Speak to Mr. Hunter. He’s the Superintendent. He needs a teacher and I’m sure you can handle it!”
I nodded, only too glad to become part of the action to change the world. I was a soldier, a part of God’s worldwide army ready to advance against the enemy. I did not wish to become a member of a spectator religion, watching the performance on the pulpit stage. I knew that in many churches people expressed approval at significant ideas, muttered ‘Amen,’ quietly, and made sure never to offend anyone. Sometimes, tears even trickled down some faces. Some of us might comment afterwards, “What a lovely message!” However, most of us never reached out to the lost because of the great personal cost to ourselves.
Jesus Christ once said, “Whosoever does not bear his cross and come after me, cannot be my disciple!” Such words were forgotten in the midst of religious indifference. Many had lost out on the excitement that comes with sacrifice, dedication and true discipleship! I was prepared to give myself wholeheartedly to transform the world! My young imagination was stirred! After seeing the Superintendent, at fifteen years of age I was prepared to teach a Sunday school class of ten to twelve-year-olds every week.
John, the apostle tells us that “having loved His own, Jesus loved them to the end” and that there is no “greater love than this that a man should lay down His life for His friends!” It is our only reasonable service to give ourselves completely to the Greatest Lover of all time.
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