May 1, 2017
My football coach in high school was a throwback, even in the sixties. He was one of those short stocky guys who had no neck, who had played fullback in college. His method of coaching wasn’t to stand up at the top of the bleachers and observe or yell. If he yelled at you he wanted to be right in front of your face. When he didn’t like the intensity of a hitting drill, he would demonstrate how to hit, personally. He didn’t need a helmet or pads, he would just line up in front of the biggest guy on the team and say go ahead and hit me. He taught us by example. I loved that guy! I probably would have done just about anything for him, because he showed us that he not only knew about the game, he knew how to really play the game. He was all in.
Next school year, 2017-18, Florida Christian School will be celebrating the 50th year of serving the Lord in this community. In the Old Testament God’s people were taught to celebrate the 50th year as a year of Jubilee, which was the year following seven cycles of seven years and included the setting free of captives and slaves and the forgiveness of debt. This Old Testament practice pictures what Jesus would accomplish through His death on the cross and resurrection from the grave. The debt of sin we owe was paid for on the cross and there is no need for us to work to make ourselves acceptable to God, because through Jesus we can truly celebrate the year of JUBILEE because of the work he did for us. He gave everything for you and for me. He was all in.
Jesus was the spiritual example to His disciples as well as their leader, but no one worked harder than He did. After feeding the five thousand he sent the disciples away to rest while He remained with the multitude and to pray. Another time Jesus ministered to the multitudes until He was so exhausted that he slept through a storm in the fishing boat they were traveling in. In a very short ministry on earth Jesus often outlasted his disciples, going without food or sleep. Jesus taught His disciples not just with His words but by His example. Ultimately He demonstrated His willingness to suffer persecution, far more than they could have ever learned by just words. No wonder after He returned to the Father, they were willing to do what He said and even to die.
The thing about having a serious determination to set an example spiritually in God’s work, is that it sometimes takes sacrifice. Jesus’ willingness to sacrifice was a powerful tool in receiving the respect and commitment from His disciples. His example to us, as we serve Him in this ministry, is that our willingness to sacrifice, our time, our spiritual gifts, even the gaining of riches, will provide us with many opportunities to lead students, and to inspire a new generation to follow Christ. I was willing to do just about anything for my high school football coach because of his example and sacrifice. What are our children and your students willing to do because of our example? John 4:31-35 says, “Meanwhile his disciples urged him, “Rabbi, eat something.” But he said to them, “I have food to eat that you know nothing about.” Then his disciples said to each other, “Could someone have brought him food?” “My food,” said Jesus, “is to do the will of him who sent me and to finish his work.” Jesus provided us with an example of “finishing the work” in order to do the will of God.
Oswald Sanders said, “If he is not willing to rise earlier and stay up later than others, to work harder and study more diligently than his contemporaries, he will not impress his generation.” Henry Blackaby sums it up by saying, “The reason there are not more great spiritual leaders today, is that there are not many who are willing to pay the price.” The challenge for us, as we serve God at Florida Christian School is to be willing to pay the price, and to be willing to “finish the work.”
Have you ever been around someone who expected others to do the work while they observed or “supervised?” Being an example, especially a spiritual example, requires a lot of hard work. In fact, a person who is a spiritual example should set the pace for other people to follow and lead them. They should not ask or expect people to do anything they are unwilling to do themselves. As a spiritual leader, here at FCS each of us should be asking ourselves this question, “If everyone at FCS has the same intensity as I do in accomplishing God’s purpose in our school, would it cause this ministry to move toward God’s purposes or would it cause it to grind to a screeching halt?”
God’s calling on my life is to serve Him at Florida Christian School. As we move into the exciting events of our 50th anniversary I am all in. I believe that God is not only going to continue His work here at FCS, I believe He is going to do something far beyond what we could ever ask or think. I want to challenge every person who loves this ministry to pray, not only for God’s blessing on our school, but pray for an outpouring of God’s presence and power that can only be explained by acknowledging what He has been doing here at FCS for the past 49 years. How about you, are you all in?