Contend Earnestly: Why My Family is Going to Public School

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

Why My Family is Going to Public School

So, here is the culmination of this series. For some reason some thought I was asking advice on where my children should go to school. That is not what the purpose of this series is about. The purpose is for us all, including my family, to revisit why and how we make decisions while on this earth. This last post will put forth why our decision has been made, for now, to put our children into public schools. I want all to remember that this is not a polemic against homeschool or private school, this is merely an affirmation of our decision, not an attack on yours. So, when I say, "We fear the Lord" I am not saying that the homeschooler or private schooler does not fear God. Please catch this so you don't read this and think I am hammering you, but maybe the Spirit is hammering never know.

Here are a few of our reasons why we believe God has put our family on mission in the public school system.

Seeking God's Glory Above My Family's

This is the first question that we should all be living by. Am I saying that I honestly live this out perfectly? No, because if I did I would never sin. The fact of the matter is I honestly probably live this out in some areas and are very blinded in other areas. I will say that the verse that puts our whole lives and our decisions in perspective comes from the famous 1 Corinthians 10:31,33 passage:

So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God…just as I try to please everyone in everything I do, not seeking my own advantage, but that of many, that they may be saved.
1 Corinthians 10: 31,33

This verse dwindles all our decisions to even the mundane. Even the every day drink and food that we enjoy should be done for the glory of God. We do this for the sake of God's glory because we are not seeking our own advantage but for other's, so they might be saved.

So, when making a decision on schooling my child, my first question is not what advantage it will be for my family or for my child. I don't first ask, "what has the best education, what will be the safest, what will have the least temptations, what will be the easiest for our family, what will make my kid the smartest, where will the fight be less" My first question is "what glorifies God the most? Where can I seek the advantage of other's most so they might be saved?" For our family, whether we were in the slums or suburbia we would choose the public school system because we believe this is where we can show off the glory of God the most.

People think that I would change my mind if I were in the ghetto, but what they forget is that the situation or school system is not the first question or insight. My first thought, my first question is simply, "God, how can I glorify you the most through my family so that many will be saved?" All my decisions flow from this, it is a top down approach, not a bottom up approach.

I Want My Family to God's Voice to the Pagan World

Is there many ways that this can be accomplished? Yes, of course. Will the schooling of our children be the only way that my family tries to accomplish this? Of course not. But, my children and my wife and I are going to do what we can to show off the glory of God to those who oppose him. We are going to do our best to emulate the meekness of our Saviour. We are going to do our best to take stands where stands need to be made. We are going to do our best to do as Christ did, befriend those who most Christians wouldn't dare to be friends with. I hope my child becomes friends with those of other faiths, I hope my child becomes friends with the self righteous, I hope my child becomes friends with the self debasing, I hope my child becomes friends with the homosexual, I hope my child becomes friends with the popular and most hated kids in the school. I hope that he does all this to show off Christ, and yet not sin.

Will my children do this on their own? No. We will be there alongside them to show them Jesus and his grace, forgiveness and love. We will be there to show him what Christ desires from those friendships and what he doesn't. We want our child to be in the world but not of it. We want them there to show those friends what it looks like to live for Christ, but not hate the sinner. I want my child to be able to stand for the morals and holiness that God calls his people to even when those around him are living for the sake of self instead of the sake of Christ.

Not only is this going to be the calling of our children, but this is going to be the calling of my wife and I. Because of this, we will get a chance to be a light to the teachers, staff and parents of all those involved. We will be able to show what it looks like to disagree with a worldview but not hate those who oppose us. We will be able to show them the light of the gospel that does not hate them, but desires them to turn to the One who created them for His sake and not their own. We will be able to be there for those who oppose Christianity to be able to talk to us and understand the Christian worldview from the voice of a Christian instead of reading it in a book by an atheist.

This is a whole family calling. This is actually even more tame than what God called Daniel to. Daniel was completely taken from his home and given over to the king in his early teens. Was Daniel taught and trained in the ways of the Lord before hand? Yes, very much so, and this is why he saw everything through the eyes of God and for God's glory. He wasn't transformed to be like the king, but brought truth to the king and showed the king and his servants the true God. He was instrumental in turning the king's heart to God. God used the foolishness of a kid, to bring the wisdom of the king, literally, to its' knees.

We are actually doing something quite less. We are not turning him over to the public schools and asking our children to live with the principle. We are continually training our children every day for the sake of Christ and then asking them to go to school and live out the teachings of Christ every day. This is not only a challenge for our children, but for us. We must continually train in the offensive truths of the gospel and then be defensive with those things that our child learns that are contrary to the Gospel. We must not lose sight of this and we must take this head on daily. We must plummet the gospel deep into our child's heart so that all things flow from the wisdom and love of Christ and not man.

Hi, My Name is Seth, and I am a Calvinist

I love God, I love his truth and I love that he alone is sovereign and my life is in his hands. I don't trust in my actions or in what I see, but I put my life, and my family's life in the hands of God. I believe that God has put this mission on the hearts of my wife and I. The question is "do I believe that God is in control or do I believe that what I see and my decisions are what controls fate?" Am I responsible for the decisions that I make? Yes, of course I am. But I will not make decisions because I am fearful of what might happen if I do. I make decisions based on God's glory and the fear of the One who can destroy both body and soul in hell, not based on those who can merely destroy the body. So what if my child is not as smart as he could have been, so what if my child is teased, so what if my child has no friends, so what if my child has to constantly stand against the norm? I say "so what" even though this would be very hard to take, very hard. But what if my child went through all that and someone goes to heaven because of the witness of true Christianity? What if God's purpose was to use my child for His glory? What if God really meant: In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven (Matthew 5:16)? We don't expect our missionaries to live in fear, we don't see David, Daniel, Jeremiah, Elijah, Elisha, Shadrach, Meshach, Abed-nego, Paul, Peter or Jesus to live in fear...why should we? Why did all these do what they did? They all did it for the glory of God so that others could see their good works and worship God.

I trust in the sovereignty of God's will and understand that his will and his purpose and his glory is far more important than whether or not my child gets a better education or is seemingly safer. I have heard this many times before, but someone who is called to the front lines of war by God is far safer than if he were to deny God's call and be sitting comfortably in his house. Missionaries who go to these dangerous areas of the world understand this.

This is what I am saying to everyone who reads this. You are the safest wherever God calls you, not where stats put forth. Does God put the desires in our heart? Yes of course. He does this so that we live for him, not for ourselves. He does this because he is control, not because we are in control. He does this for the sake of his glory, not for our family's.

I trust that this decision is going to be a very difficult one. I also trust in my God who tells me that he is in control and that my hope is not found here, but in Christ. My hope isn't found in educating my child, but my hope is found intraining my children to be like Christ. My hope isn't found in my family being safe. My hope is found being safe in the arms of Christ.

My hope is not found in man, my hope is found in Christ.

I pray that this series has been helpful in getting back to the root of all our decisions. Don't start with the decision first, that is bottom up. Start with the glory of God. Start with where God has put you on mission and then make your decisions flow from these premises and you will be in safest, most God honoring, place that you can be. This will lead some to homeschool, some to private school and even some to public school.


Josh R said...

I don't think most parents choose a Christian education for their children because of fear. They choose it because they feel called to raise their Children to be Christians, and that is the most effective route to achieving this goal, to the Glory of God.

Saying "I am a Calvinist, therefore I don't worry", plays right into the hands of the Arminians who (falsely) accuse us of not evangelizing enough. Without a doubt, God calls us to evangelize our children. I wouldn't use his sovereignty as an excuse to be less diligent in this calling. I am not saying that you will be, just that some of your audience already assumes that, therefore they are going to read hypercalvinism into your explanation.

I think the best way to bring Glory to God is one heart at a time.

Thanks for the series. It has been fun.

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