"'Oh! Jesus, I have promised to serve thee to the end' But today I look back in shame, to see how often I have broken this promise I've made.
I remember the boldness in which I repeated these words: 'I shall not fear the battle, if Thou art by my side, or stumble by the wayside, if Thou wilt be my guide'. So, I asked You to be 'forever near me' and You've never failed to be 'My Master and My Friend'. But often I fail to remember this rich heritage of mine and to others I run instead.
I felt your anointing as the Holy Spirit I received, I made up my mind, there's no going back. I'll serve you Lord for the rest of my life.
The day had ended. We all said 'Amen!' All dressed in white from the top of our heads, except for the men whose heads were undressed. Did they all feel the same way I felt?
I gave no thought for what the future held. I didn't stop to think of the road ahead. Hey! Salvation was free and Baptism was, to me, the final step. I needed only, to accept Christ. Be baptised and others, the Good News tell. Did I really have a healthy arrival or was it a pre-mature birth?
I wonder if the others felt the same way. Were they curious of what the future held? Did they dispel all those myths of what Christianity meant? Are they still waiting for that great opportunity to tell someone of God's Grace? Was Baptism seen as the final task -- escaping from hell?"
Meredith had so many questions, just like she did when she first responded to the call
"I know I have to take the blame, though lack of understanding brought me here.
So, for the mistakes I've made, could You please accept my apologies and wipe my sins away? For now I understand that You left with me The Holy Spirit to teach. And Your Word is there for me to learn from. Therefore I have no one to blame for the mistakes I make."
Meredith rose from her seated position and made that long walk to the altar once more, only this time it was a different place and a different Pastor. She did not hesitate this time when the Pastor called. Then she re-dedicated her life to Christ.
"Today I come seeking your forgiveness Lord. Humbly I come. And as You open my eyes to see, please Lord, let me not selfishly keep what I have received just for my knowledge. Help me instead to share with others, so they too can see. Your forgiveness I seek as I cry out to thee. This time Lord, help me to stay on the wheel, until You are ready for me to be refined. Then make me into a vessel of honour for thee. I do want to serve Thee to the end Lord, so while I'm being tried in the fire, please keep me reminded that You are in control and You are all I need.
Use me Lord, as a vessel for thee. Feed me with Your Word and speak through me. Lead my feet to the path you've mapped out for me. Let Your healing flow through me. Your anointing Lord is what I seek, so that You can reach a multitude, through me. Let Your light shine through me, so that others may see You in me and come to glorify Your name. Make me an instrument of Thy peace; daily eating of the fruit of the Spirit, so others can know that You live in me.
Every breath I take belongs to you. Thank you Lord. And as long as I breathe, Heavenly Father, I live to worship thee."
She rose from her kneeling position and walked back to her seat. The Pastor closed the sermon with the song she remembered so well. The congregation started to sing and Meredith smiled as she sung this song with meaning for the very first time:
"Oh Jesus I have promised
To serve thee to the end;
Be Thou for ever near me
My Master and my Friend!
I shall not fear the battle,
If Thou art by my side;
Nor wander from the pathway,
If Thou wilt be my Guide."
And there was no looking back for Meredith. Though the struggles continue to roll, she has learned how to lean and depend on Jesus. She no longer worry about the future because she has proven, through past trials, that God will provide all that she requires to face each trial that comes her way. And so daily she renews her vows to serve God to the very end; leaning on Jesus for her daily strength.
2007 Janice.S. Ramkissoon
Notes: (Hymns Oh Jesus I have promised: 606 (c.c.108) & 'Just as I am' (473 s.s.82) are taken from 'Sacred Songs And Solos' compiled under the direction of IRA D. Sankey, an imprint of Harper Collins Publishers.)
Janice, a freelance writer, lives in the UK and enjoys spending time with her husband, Vince and their son, Javin. She uses her gift to encourage others towards a deeper relationship with God, through her inspirational pieces while her travel articles provide general advice for the holiday-maker.