Totally Committed

I learnt a new saying the other day: ‘You might as well be hung for a sheep as a lamb.’

It’s first recorded in a 1678 collection of proverbs – when the punishment for any theft was hanging. If you might be hung anyway then make the risk worthwhile!

I like the ‘total commitment’ approach to life. If you’re going to do something do it as well as you can – give it everything you’ve got – whether it’s marathon running, flower arranging or theft!

There was the somewhat gruesome story yesterday of the Norwich man who, unable to get himself a dental appointment during lockdown, was in such unbearable agony that he pulled out eighteen of his own teeth. Total commitment!

Today we remember it’s a year since George Floyd’s death. ‘Black Lives Matter’… Many are totally committed to their strong personal convictions.

Yesterday Rachel and I cooked and prepared meals at our church Whitton Life Centre. A succession of folks collected their sausages, beans and cheesy mash. I then had to deliver meals to a few housebound folks.

Their physical restrictions prevent them from collecting their meals. The youthful idealism of an energetic ‘totally committed is brought down to earth by folks confined to an armchair.

This morning I was reading the story of Nehemiah. Together with many other Jews he’s rebuilding and repairing the walls of Jerusalem. Nehemiah’s totally committed, but he’s constantly discouraged, discredited and intimidated by enemies.

Nehemiah’s response? He doesn’t hope that the situation is removed or resolved. He isn’t ‘totally committed’ to fighting the opposition.

He prays ‘Strengthen my hands’. However ‘totally committed’ he is, he acknowledges that he needs a power greater than his own to get him through.

Musing… whatever my personal circumstances, however much energy or wisdom I may – or may not – have at my disposal, ‘strengthen my hands’ is a good prayer…’  

…but probably not for stealing sheep.

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