When our children were young, my wife and I decided to let them set their own allowance amount. Well, we actually gave them a choice about how much they could receive each week, up to a certain limit.
We designed a “chore chart” that involved primarily routines that should be a normal part of life; brushing teeth, cleaning their bedroom, making the bed, and the like. Each chore was given a monetary value, so if they completed every chore all week, they would receive the maximum amount; skip a chore, lose some money.
One of my favorite items was “sunshine morning.” Simply put, be pleasant and cooperative first thing in the morning. Beginning the day without grumbling is a wonderful habit to employ, no matter one’s age! To help with that, we used a calming wake-up technique that helped most of the time.
When our son was in second grade, he made a New Year’s resolution to make his bed every day that year. Well, this determined little guy kept that resolution and, to my knowledge, continued that practice all the way through high school!
Saturday this week is National Make Your Bed Day. I could not help but travel back in memory to the dedication our son applied to a simple resolution made at the age of 7. Time has affirmed that such tenacity is our son. When he does a thing, he seems to do it fanatically, completely, and relentlessly.
Whether it pertains to academics, career, finances, relationships, fatherhood, faith — — it is all or nothing for him. His head and heart are “all in;” no cheating, no cutting corners (not even hospital corners!).
There is a song I like to sing that is based on the biblical parable of the Prodigal Son. The chorus says, “On the road back home to Father I won’t stop along the way; I was born to higher purpose, I’ll not waste another day. Won’t be camping on the border just inside of what I know. It is all the way or nothing, it is all the way back Home.”
That is an appropriate picture of what our spiritual journey — our calling — is like. No cheating, no shortcuts, no half-hearted commitments to the way of the Lord. The Shema is an affirmation of Judaism and a declaration of faith in one God. It includes these words: You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your might.
This is not, however, simply a command. It expresses the truth that the Lord desires to be part of your everyday life; the good, the unpleasant, the joys, the sorrows. His vow to never leave us or forsake us is a promise made from the loving heart of a caring God. How could we not want to be “all in” with a God like that?
Steven Callis is the minister at First Church of the Nazarene in Douglasville.