I column as I see 'em

If you aren’t totally weary of pondering the matter I would like to address the issue of New Year’s resolutions and what I believe may be the missing element in making them more successful.Oftentimes, lost in the shuffle of these traditional annual pledges to make positive and life-changing declarations is one particular component I wish to spotlight in my ramblings today which I believe just may be the “make or break” ingredient in the recipe for attainment of the desired goal.Years ago I heard a less than hilarious joke about a woman whose apartment was overrun with cockroaches and she had tried everything she knew to rid herself of the despicable pests, but the problem had only gotten worse. She was telling a friend about her frustration over the ineffectiveness of her attempts to eradicate them and her comrade said she knew exactly what to do because she had also experienced that situation and had done something which caused them to instantly scatter and she had not seen one roach since that day. Excitedly she inquired about this miraculous cure and her friend said, “It was simple. I just asked them all for a commitment.” I told you it was a lightweight joke but, like many witticisms, there is often a message of truth embodied in the humor and I think there is a valuable nugget to be unearthed here. It seems to me there are a lot of folks who think commitment is a dirty word. Take an honest look at human relationships, the work place, sports superstars, and the government and I think you’ll have to agree, loyalty and faithfulness are often exchanged for momentary gratification or a deceptive view of reality that far too often results in a lack of commitment.Mario Andretti, the famous race car driver, made this insightful observation, “Desire is the key to motivation, but it is determination and commitment to an unrelenting pursuit of your goal — a commitment to excellence — that will enable you to attain the success you seek.” Vince Lombardi of NFL coaching fame said, “The quality of a person’s life is in direct proportion to their commitment to excellence, regardless of their chosen field of endeavor.”Solomon, the wise Bible king, said, “Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might.”An entitlement mentality has become one of the major scourges of our society. People in the workplace expect more money to do less and have no qualms about demanding it. In almost every labor and social environment there are givers and takers and the latter usually far outnumbers the former. There is always someone who does more than their share and others who are more than willing to let them. I am unequivocally appreciative of programs and policies which help people who have genuine needs, but I have a hard time affirming people who want something for nothing and unashamedly expect someone else to provide for their every whim and desire. Our country wasn’t built on a mindset of laziness and exemption from responsibility and until there is a widespread restoration of commitment to ethics the problem will continue to multiply, much like cockroaches do. Some of the definitions of this intimidating word are obligation, committal, promise and responsibility. Interestingly those commodities seem to be in short supply in almost every area of life and are basically nonexistent except during the first week of every New Year. But these things should be embraced on a daily basis in the life of every self-respecting and decent human being.I believe many of our political leaders and government policies have been the culprits in propagating this tragic blight on our society. Big government breeds dependency and that seems to be at the heart of much of what makes up the platform of our present day leadership. Obligating the masses to loyalty through entitlement is an iniquitous form of manipulation and the mortal enemy of commitment to truth and integrity.I say it’s time for good people to get stirred up about it and make a difference.Make your resolutions, but remember nothing of true value comes easily. We will all be better people if we will make genuine and sincere commitments to truth, honesty, integrity and being the kind of citizens who establish a pattern of loyalty and a standard of excellence that will inspire others to follow in our footsteps.You may not agree with anything I’ve said, but I column as I see ‘em. Eddy Prince is the senior pastor at Grace Fellowship Church. He can be reached by email at pastorprince@msn.com.