May the Tribe of SHMILY Increase …

“I glorified You on the earth, having accomplished the work which You have given Me to do.”  (John 17:4)

Commitment is one of those words … one of those principles of life … that is very easy to say but extremely difficult to put into practice!  How often does it happen in our lives that we have expressed commitment to the Lord, to a mate, to a child, to our brethren, to other obligations in life … only to fall short of what we promised!

When we consider the thoughts expressed by Jesus as He was about to be betrayed, tried falsely and murdered by the authorities, we see the consummate example of commitment. After a very short life on earth, He had done all that He was sent to do and now it was time to offer up willingly His own life for the sins of mankind.

Commitment could be described as the giving up of choices.  When we have made our choice … the decision to obey, serve and walk with the Lord … that decision is to trump every other option that presents itself.

  • When we become committed to serving the Lord that occupies first place in our hearts.
  • When we commit to another person in marriage, that relationship preempts our involvement with someone else.

There is great difficulty to be found in staying committed to the Lord, a cause or a person when our heart isn’t in it!  When we make a promise or a vow we’re not as someone once said, “… giving our word in erasable pencil but inscribing our commitment in indelible ink.”

Sometimes one of the best ways to illustrate an intended lesson, is just as Jesus did in His earthly teaching; we can borrow from the events of life.  The following story illustrates exactly what we would like for all of us to be more like in our relationship with God, with our spouses, our children, our friends and our brethren.

The couple’s names were Bob and Sarah.  They had been married for fifty plus year.  They were truly in love … they touched, laughed, teased and played.  From the early days of their marriage, they had played a crazy little game that no one understood but them.

They would write down a funny little word on a piece of paper and hide it in different places around the house.  The word was “SHMILY.” There were times Sarah would look in the sugar bowl … and there it was:  “SHMILY!” Once Sarah unrolled a whole roll of toilet paper and wrote in on the last sheet.

They played this game their entire married life!  Their children knew about the game … but no one knew what “SHMILY” meant.  They weren’t even sure how to pronounce it.  Not long after their 52nd wedding anniversary, doctors diagnosed Sarah with cancer.  She would battle the disease for nearly 10 years.

Everyone marveled as they watched this couple stand together through it all.  And all the while, they continued their “SHMILY” game.  And then … one day … Sarah died!  The funeral provided a glorious time for celebrating her wonderful life … but it was also tinged with sadness.  The children, the grandchildren, and by now even great-great-grandchildren watched Bob as he said good-bye to his beloved wife of so many years.

Silence reigned on the drive to the cemetery.  When they arrived at the grave side … they all noticed the big pink ribbon on the casket … and there it was in big letters on the ribbon:  “SHMILY”.

They all watched as he walked up to the casket and in a soft, deep voice began to sing to her.  As one, the family held hands and began to cry.  Most everyone had quietly moved away so he could have a moment alone.  But one of his granddaughters, a young teenager, stayed behind.  She reached out and took hold of his hand.  “Grandpa,” she said, “tell me what does “SHMILY” mean?”

Bob/Grandpa looked into her eyes and with a tender smile, replied “SHMILY” stands for “See How Much I Love You.”

Commitment is a biblical mandate for our relationship with God, for our marriages and our families!  Not just commitment … but total commitment!

May the tribe of SHMILY increase beginning today!

 Bill Fairchild, Jr.

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