May 13, 2019
Tomorrow, many of our seniors will embark on their Senior Trip to Europe. It is a trip filled with amazing sights and unforgettable times spent with their friends. The Senior Trip is just one of the memories that our graduates take with them as they leave FCS and embark on the next chapter of their life’s journey. All the students in this year’s senior class are experiencing the reality of the end of a part of their lives in which they have grown comfortable. The beginning of new chapter of life is marked by more independence and the opportunity to be more in control of life’s decisions on a daily basis. It is a part of life that will definitely take them out of their comfort zone.
Several years ago, I received the following message from an FCS graduate who had visited the campus and was reflecting on his time at FCS.
I am writing this email to you because I feel compelled to tell you that today’s impromptu visit to the school grounds has left me pleasantly stunned at how much FCS has grown in the years since I have graduated. Being on that campus flooded my head with so many cherished memories that when I ran into you at the school library, I wanted to say a few things, but you were busy in a meeting with someone, so I will say them here for you to read. I thank God and you for allowing me to attend FCS and granting one of my mother’s last requests. I was an ungrateful child and after my mother’s passing, I was under no kind of supervision and mistakenly thought I could whatever I wanted without repercussion. FCS was the only structure and discipline at a tumultuous time in my life. I was wrong to take FCS for granted and I apologize for being an arrogant boy who at the time did not appreciate what a blessing it was to attend FCS. God bless you and may He continue blessing FCS.
In his journey, this graduate had learned the value of what he received at FCS after many years of real-life experience. Unfortunately, many students do not discover the value of their mom and dad’s nurturing, their teachers’ genuine concern for them, or the impact of their experience at FCS until they have left home or have graduated from school. When our children are very young they have to learn that everything has a value. In their early years our children usually find this out when they ask for something at the store and they are told, “That cost too much.” The result is that our children learn to ask us about the cost of something before they ask to purchase something, so they can decide if it cost too much. It’s always amusing on the senior trip when our students are confronted with the exchange rate from U.S. dollars into a foreign currency. Many of them don’t take the time to figure the rate out and simply ask, how much is that in dollars, or just buy something without knowing. More often than not, the result is that the cost was more than they thought it was going to be. It’s no different in the stages of life that they are going to experience. Sometimes they will experience the cost of decisions that they make is far greater than they could ever have imagined.
In our Christian lives and ministry we also learn that there is a cost to following Christ. In our Christian life there are also transitions from one era of our life to another. In Mark 8:34-38, Jesus was talking to his disciples about the cost of following Him, but also about the changes they were going to experience, “Then he called the crowd to him along with his disciples and said: “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me and for the gospel will save it. What good is it for a man to gain the whole world, yet forfeit his soul? Or what can a man give in exchange for his soul? If anyone is ashamed of me and my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, the Son of Man will be ashamed of him when he comes in his Father’s glory with the holy angels.” Think of all the people, since Jesus uttered those words to his disciples, that have been persecuted for the cause of Christ, even martyred. The cost of following Christ that we pass along to our children and to our students is clearly taught to us by Christ himself. We must place Christ before our own self will and be willing to surrender everything, including our life to Him. Most of all, in order to have a relationship with Him, we must follow His example and do what He did.
Just as a former student may not have appreciated the time invested in him by his teachers at FCS, believers sometimes forget the cost of their salvation. Mark 8:31,”He then began to teach them that the Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders, chief priests and teachers of the law, and that he must be killed and after three days rise again.” Jesus was teaching his disciples that they were going to suffer because of their following him. The lesson we should have learned in our own lives, and that we must pass down to those we love and teach, is that if we suffer because we are following Christ and receive the salvation he has offered to us, then it is worth it to go through the suffering.
When our children or our students return to thank us for our investment into their life, it renews our desire to continue to pay the cost to make that kind of investment in others. If we remember the cost Jesus paid for our salvation, we will obey his call to continue to “lose our life” for Him.