The Sensible Thing To Do


Like most effective leaders, Dr. Lewis Sperry Chafer, the founder of Dallas Theological Seminary, was a standout character and a unique individual.  He was not cut from the same cloth as most. In proving my point, I remember reading about a banquet he was asked to speak at in Dallas. The room was full, and the evening filled with preliminaries, music, and endless acknowledgements and announcements. By the time Dr. Chafer’s part rolled round, the unfortunate audience had endured three hours of this and that. They were exhausted and more than a little exasperated.

Cognizant of the circumstances, and sensitive to time Dr. Chafer stood and announced, “I had prepared a somewhat lengthy message, but the hour is late, and I will not detain you. Therefore, I am going to present the three-point outline of the message and let the Holy Spirit speak to us out of that outline.” He then proceeded to say, “My subject is ‘The Reasonableness of Fully Surrendering Our Lives to God.’ Reason number one: He is all-wise and knows better than anyone else what is best for my life. Reason number two: He is almighty and has the power to accomplish that which is best for me. Reason number three: He loves me more than anyone else in the world loves me. Conclusion: therefore, the most logical thing the Christian can do is to surrender his life completely to God. What more can I say? What more need I say?”

With that, he took his seat. That was his message.

For our interest, it would serve us well to note that Dr. Chafer’s argument for the reasonableness of surrendering one’s life to God is a Pauline argument. In Paul’s letter to the Romans, Paul calls on the Christians in that city to yield their lives to God as living sacrifices (Rom. 12:1-2). The great apostle wants them to pray every morning before getting up, “Lord this bed is the altar and my body the sacrifice.” Paul is looking for a bunch of sold-out saints at the heart of the Roman Empire.

In making this appeal, Paul lays out an argument for the reasonableness of what he desires and requires of them. He argues that this presentation of themselves to God is their reasonable service, a logical act of worship in the light of God’s multiplied mercies toward them in Christ (Rom. 12:1). He begs them by the mercies of God! In the light of the cross and in the face of grace, it makes complete sense for Christians to bow their knee to the Lordship of Jesus Christ. Anything else would be a travesty given who Jesus is, what Jesus did, and where Jesus is taking us. The spiritual holdout is a man or woman who fails to understand and apply the magnitude of the gospel. Paul’s argument is simple: since God gave His best for the worst of people, it is the worst thing imaginable that we would not give our best to Him who redeemed us.

C. T. Studd was right, “If Jesus Christ be God and died for me, then no sacrifice can be too great for me to make for Him.” Let’s be sensible about our Christian life and service!