Last week I had the privilege to attend a "celebration of life" service for a member of one of our Association churches who passed away. This individual spent the final 18 of his 47 year life span as a quadriplegic because of a motorcycle accident that nearly took his life. He relied fully on others to help take care of him. As a man of strong faith, he considered his post-accident time on earth as "bonus time." He lived this portion of his life fully and completely for the Lord, with no regrets.
Romans 12:1 states "I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship." I've been wrestling through this verse as part of a men's study in which I participate. The study has challenged me to ask the question, "Am I ALL IN for Christ - as a leader, husband and father?" I know there are ways God is calling me to less "self" and more ALL IN. The individual referenced above was ALL IN! The people around him knew it! When we are ALL IN, there is a joy found in the grace of Christ that can't be replicated in any other way!
I believe the concept of ALL IN can be applied to my commitment as a parent to Christian Education. When the children of Israel crossed the Jordan River into the Promised Land, they did so during flood season. They didn't dip a toe in the water, they stepped ALL IN to the water by faith. As a parent, I continue to better understand what it means to sacrifice so my three daughters can benefit from a quality Christian education. For some families, the re-enrollment time each spring causes a wrestling match around the decision about whether or not to continue in Christian Education. My prayer for our current and "soon to be" Warrior families is that the Romans 12 challenge to offer our entire selves as ALL IN would include the education of our children in a Christian school like Lincoln Lutheran.
My daughters attend (or have attended) Messiah Lutheran Elementary School. It’s not a perfect school, but it is exactly what we wanted for our girls. Because we are ALL IN for Christian Education, we find it easy to deal with the occasional situation where a mistake gets made or our expectations aren't quite met. Living in an imperfect world, there is nothing this side of heaven that will be without some form of mistake or occasional failure. The joy of being ALL IN allows us to come along side one another, celebrate our blessings in ministry, and consistently strive to get better for the sake of our children.
God bless your Lenten journey. This is a time of year that allows us to meditate on the amazing gift of Jesus and an empty tomb. For Sara and me, it serves as a reminder of why we choose Christian Education. We are ALL IN so our daughters can have a deep and foundational relationship with their Savior. We know they are surrounded daily by teachers, coaches, administrators, staff, and other families who want kids to know and love Jesus. What a blessing to have such a resource in the Lincoln community.
ALL IN for Christ!
Scott Ernstmeyer, EdS