Last Sunday, my daughter and son-in-law dedicated their son to the Lord, and themselves, as parents, to nurturing and training him according to the tenets of faith. To some, this may seem like a useless ritual, but for our family, it was day of celebration.
When the dedication service was over, almost before he was out the doors of the sanctuary, my little grandson drifted into an exhausted sleep. The lights, sounds, media projection, instruments, and throngs of people heightened his senses, but once away from all that, sleep overtook him.
Sometimes dedication is exhausting. There will be times when my daughter and son-in-law find it difficult to honor the commitment they made to train up their child in the ways of the Lord, to discipline with grace, to employ patience, and to set an example of love and faith, the kind of example that mirrors what they say.
Here are some reasons why dedication is hard:
Dedication requires consistency – One of the things I learned early in my parenting years was the importance of consistency. Children test boundaries while still very young, so it’s important to remain consistent with boundaries and discipline. Often it’s easy to let boundaries slide, but inconsistency takes a toll. In many ways, we are like little children, resistant to boundaries, even those that exist for our own protection and benefit. But if we aren’t consistent with discipline in many areas of life—health, work, faith—it’s impossible to maintain a level of dedication that allows us to grow and reach goals.
Dedication requires persistence – Several years ago, I watched a television series set in 19th century England. One of the characters was a young woman, who, despite her lack of education, persistently pursued what she wanted in life. The character referred to the quality of persistence as “persisterence.” Sometimes persistence requires an additional syllable, an extra umph to accomplish difficult tasks, push beyond fears, and continue when obstacles abound.
Dedication requires vision – In order to remain dedicated, you have to look beyond the immediate, remember why you dedicated yourself to the endeavor in the first place, and envision the results your dedication will ultimately bring. Without broad vision, it’s easy to lose focus.
Dedication requires forward motion – For athletes, consistency in training in paramount to condition their bodies for competitions. Without dedication to their sport, and the daily routine of training, they fall behind. To maintain the routine, they have to be willing to give up some things and employ a level of discipline that propels them forward. Dedication required the ability to move ahead following failure, rejection, and defeat.
Dedication requires selflessness – Dedication to nurturing and training a child takes effort. You have to think of the needs of the child first and give up habits and attention-robbers that distract. You lose sleep. You grow weary and impatient. You give of yourself for the benefit of another. But through it all the blessings outweigh the difficulties.
Much in life is the same. Dedication is sometimes exhausting, but the rewards are worth the sacrifice.
“For this child I prayed, and the Lords has granted me my request which I asked of Him. Therefore I have also dedicated him to the Lord; as long as he lives he is dedicated to the Lord.” (1 Samuel 1:27-28 AMP)