Have you noticed how many food items are “light” today? Most of the time it is spelled “lite” to indicate the cut down version of the former. It’s the tendency to want a little bit of whatever but not too much. “Lite things” began with a cut back in calories or sugar content but has continued to “lite workouts” and even “lite worship services.” When you stop and think about it, a cut back version of anything is really not the same. In fact, it’s like cheating yourself.
OK, maybe all those calories are not so good for you, but if you want a piece of cheese cake a lite version just does not have the same impact in taste. If you want the positive outcome of a workout, a lite or cut down version just will not bring you the same result. Likewise, a cut back in worship or service to God may seem satisfactory to your selfish interests, but inside you know it does not fulfill God’s call to love Him with everything you have.
Mark 12:28–30 (ESV) — 28 And one of the scribes came up and heard them disputing with one another, and seeing that he answered them well, asked him, “Which commandment is the most important of all?” 29 Jesus answered, “The most important is, ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. 30 And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’
Serving God that asks for a mere minimum of dedication and service is actually robbing God and robbing the individual. In other words, there is no “lite” when it comes to serving God. He requires us to be in all the way.
Luke 9:23–25 (ESV) — 23 And he said to all, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. 24 For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will save it. 25 For what does it profit a man if he gains the whole world and loses or forfeits himself?
There is a scene in the book of 1st Chronicles when David sinned by numbering Israel and God brought a plague on the people, then told David to go and offer a sacrifice to keep the plague away. Notice this was not a “lite” moment, but a time for all out focus on God.
1 Chronicles 21:18–27 (ESV) — 18 Now the angel of the Lord had commanded Gad to say to David that David should go up and raise an altar to the Lord on the threshing floor of Ornan the Jebusite. 19 So David went up at Gad’s word, which he had spoken in the name of the Lord. 20 Now Ornan was threshing wheat. He turned and saw the angel, and his four sons who were with him hid themselves. 21 As David came to Ornan, Ornan looked and saw David and went out from the threshing floor and paid homage to David with his face to the ground. 22 And David said to Ornan, “Give me the site of the threshing floor that I may build on it an altar to the Lord—give it to me at its full price—that the plague may be averted from the people.” 23 Then Ornan said to David, “Take it, and let my lord the king do what seems good to him. See, I give the oxen for burnt offerings and the threshing sledges for the wood and the wheat for a grain offering; I give it all.” 24 But King David said to Ornan, “No, but I will buy them for the full price. I will not take for the Lord what is yours, nor offer burnt offerings that cost me nothing.” 25 So David paid Ornan 600 shekels of gold by weight for the site. 26 And David built there an altar to the Lord and presented burnt offerings and peace offerings and called on the Lord, and the Lord answered him with fire from heaven upon the altar of burnt offering. 27 Then the Lord commanded the angel, and he put his sword back into its sheath.
Ornan was willing to give it all, but David refused because He would not offer anything to God which cost him nothing. So when we do try to offer a “lite” version to God, we cheat ourselves of the joy of fully following God.
Jesus has promised that as we are yoked together with Him, the burden of it all would appear as light – which means it’s a full load, rather than a cut down version, but the difference is something hard becomes easier to tolerate because Jesus endures the brunt of the load.
Matthew 11:28–30 (ESV) — 28 Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”
Instead of looking for an easier way out when it comes to loving and serving God, remember in taking that easier way you are robbing God and shortchanging yourself. The better choice is not to go light but to go all in when it comes to God. It makes all the difference.