My apologies for the lapse in posting. I hate making excuses, but there simply has not been enough time and energy to get to everything that is currently sitting in front of me. As most of you know I am a pastor in Charleston, South Carolina, as well as the director of the Bonhoeffer Institute and the Field Director of The Alliance (A network of pastors and Christian leaders in South Carolina engaging the civic arena). I am also trying to carve out some time to complete a book I am in the midst of writing (more to come on that front). That means my life can be busy and my hands are full, especially as of late as my church (Legacy Church) is experiencing some really positive momentum and forward movement in the ministry. I’m not complaining. I’ve had some challenging days on several fronts and to now experience some blessing and a sense of favor is a sweet wave that I will ride for as long as God sees fit to make it available. That disclaimer said, it has also been a season to remind me of a great foundational principle to rebuild the Christian family which I fear has been forgotten. The principle of sacrifice.
Anything worthwhile has attached to it blood, sweat, and tears. There is investment and sacrifice to recover it, maintain it, and move it forward. This great nation was originally built and expanded on numerous principles, not the least of which was the principle of sacrifice. I can still remember vividly a family trip we took several years ago to the Virginia colony of Jamestown and walking through the replicas of the 17th century settlement. The actual temperature that day was well over 100 degrees and the authenticity level seemed to increase as the sweat poured down our backs. To watch the “actors” portray life as it was at that time under such conditions made an indelible impression upon all of our minds. We walked aboard the two replica ships which transported the colonists to the New World and marveled at their courage and fortitude to attempt such a journey across the ocean in such a tentative and small vessel. These were not weak or fragile people. These were true men and women of strength who instilled something inside themselves and their families to brave such a journey. It was the spirit of sacrifice.
As individuals, it is not unusual to sacrifice for goals and dreams. Many a motivated person will enroll themselves in a college program as a full-time student and will work full-time in order to achieve the desired outcome of a career. Many a motivated athlete will stay after practice and put in the extra time or work they know it will take in order to play at the next level. My own athletic prowess is limited to baseball, but for me to play post-high school ball, I remember many a night running an extra 5 miles after a normal practice, as well as untold quarters in a batting cage to make sure my bat timing was right. If you want to be successful, somewhere along the journey one will find themselves sacrificing for those goals.
Rebuilding the Christian family is going to take a commitment on the part of Christians to sacrifice some things in order to achieve the right things. Unfortunately, we have assimilated the “soul take thine ease” mentality that to suggest to the modern Christian family that there might be some legitimate sacrifices they need to make to rebuild their family as God designed it seems almost cultic to the natural mind. I want to declare unambiguously that rebuilding the families of America is going to take something more radical than carving out a 5 minute devotional time as kids are piling into the car to get to school while the local “Christian” radio station is playing in the background. In order to maintain and rebuild the Christian family culture in America it is going to take strategic sacrifice to assure the generational torch-passing of the faith.
I am reluctant to use anecdotal stories of our household as the unique model of what that might look like. I understand that within the context of biblical orthodoxy the concept of rebuilding the Christian family can look somewhat different in application. That being said, the issue isn’t so much how we might differ on application of biblical precept as much as the issue being, “Is anything happening on this front at all?”
All three of our children had experiences in public school, Christian school, and home schooling. Living in different geographical locations in their growing up years provided different cultural dynamics and options with regards to their training and education. There were times we had to sacrifice great finances and time in order to be sure they were getting a solid biblical worldview foundation. I understand that parents may choose the public school option for education, but in that choice a Christian parent must identify what sacrifices they will make to combat the secularism their kids are sure to face. It is no longer tenable for Christian families to just float along with the culture believing that their households are getting biblical worldview by osmosis.
We have sacrificed as a family to send our kids to Christian universities which at least attempt to present a biblical worldview as the basis of their educational philosophy. These options diminish state dollars and scholarships at times which mean more of the financial burden lands upon the parents. We decided that the extra financial expense was a better challenge to face than to release them to an atheist, philosophy professor who’s agenda is to undermine their 18 years of biblical worldview training. Again, I understand why Christian parents and students choose other post-secondary, educational options. I understand that certain fields of expertise may only be trained at secular universities. However, what sacrifices will be made to make sure their biblical worldview is strengthened and encouraged in the midst of a Babylonian worldview? These questions are incredibly important to answer.
What about sacrifices to propagate the faith, missionary endeavors, church planting, and expansion of the Kingdom of God? What sacrifices are modeled and made concerning how the Church stops the relentless adversity of a hostile culture to it’s faith? We must sacrifice to REACH and legitimately DISCIPLE people in the ways of God or as Christ said it in the Great Commission, “Teaching them to observe ALL that I have commanded you”.
You and I may never board a small ship and sail the northern Atlantic. We may never get into a Conestoga Wagon and move westward for thousands of miles across a nation. However, there will be a sacrifice asked of us to maintain and expand the biblical worldview and faith of our fathers and household. Are you finding ways of passing on the principle of sacrifice to your children? Sacrifice is really the opposite of entitlement. This generation is a “gimme” generation, even in many Christian families. To rebuild the Christian family, this concept needs to be instilled in the ranks of the faithful.