In John 6:9, Andrew speaks up when Jesus was testing his disciples about how they were going to feed masses of people that traveled to hear him teach. Andrew says, “Here is a boy with five small barley loaves and two small fish, but how far will they go among so many?” No more is written about the boy. Was the boy offering the food he had? Normally, that’s how we picture it; a gift, surrendered for Jesus to use and multiply. Is it possible that Andrew took it from the boy because, at that time, the boy was at the mercy of the adults who were in charge around him? The story of Jesus feeding the five thousand is told in all four gospels, but Matthew, Mark, and Luke do not mention the boy. In those records, the disciples simply report that they have five loaves and two fish. We can only imagine how the transfer of the loaves and fish actually took place, but sometimes in life surrender happens voluntarily and sometimes it happens through force or fear.

In the book The Incredible Power of Kingdom Authority: Getting the Upper Hand on the Underworld, Adrian Rogers writes of a conversation he had with Josef Tson, a revered Romanian pastor who was an author and the president of the Romanian Missionary Society. Tson lived through years of exile and persecution in a cruel Communist regime. Rogers asked Dr. Tson to share what he observed in the American Church.

Tson’s response may surprise you. With some hesitation, he replied, “Well, Adrian, since you have asked me, I’ll tell you. The key word in American Christianity is commitment. Tson did not see that word in a flattering light. He believed it was a bad substitute for the older and better Christian teaching: surrender.

Tson elaborated on the difference between the two, “When you make a commitment, you are still in control, no matter how noble the thing you commit to. One can commit to pray, to study the Bible, to give his money, commit to automobile payments, or to lose weight. Whatever he chooses to do, he commits to. But surrender is different. If someone holds a gun and asks you to lift your hands in the air as a token of surrender, you don’t tell that person what you are committed to. You simply surrender and do as you are told. . . . Americans love commitment because they are still in control. But the key word is surrender. We are to be slaves to the Lord Jesus Christ.”

There is a wide divide between the practice of committing some part of one’s life to Christ and the practice of surrendering all to Christ. Take some time right now to evaluate and pray about which practice looks more like the way you walk with Jesus.

Pastor John Riley

Jr. High Ministry

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