People continually amaze me. Perhaps they shouldn’t. I’ve lived long enough to understand something of what the Preacher said in Ecclesiastes 1:9 – “That which has been is what will be, that which is done is what will be done, and there is nothing new under the sun.” Yet I still find the endless variety of human personality, virtues, and vices fascinating and frequently surprising.
My family moved to Nacogdoches about 16 months ago. That’s not very long for so many of you who have lived here for decades or generations. But it has been long enough to get to know the kind of people who inhabit these piney woods. There really aren’t any new virtues or vices here under the East Texas sun. But then, I have been surprised also. Maybe astonished is a better word.
I am utterly astonished at the people who give so much to make Regents Academy succeed. Sure, I mean donations of money. And I also mean parents who volunteer and give to the school in countless ways. But I am thinking of the staff members who sacrifice so much to give to the students of our school day in and day out.
Did you know that several of our staff members work at Regents Academy on a completely volunteer basis? Even the ones who get paid give far, far more than their salaries can possibly compensate. Consider: what could these volunteers be doing with their precious time, extensive talents, and obvious passion? A lot. And they could to it for a great deal of money. Yet they choose to pour their time, talents, and passion into the families of Regents Academy.
Why do they do it? The cynical among us will say, “There’s nothing new under the sun. They are giving to get something out of it. They are only trying to help their own children.” Well, of course they are getting something out of it! It is basic human nature to seek a reward. However, the faithful laborers at Regents Academy show a remarkable sense of vocation. Ask your children about the meaning of the Latin word voco that serves as the root of “vocation.” Voco means “I call,” and the staff at Regents Academy are called by God Himself to the great task of Christian education. They are responding to God’s call to invest in our most precious resource and our greatest responsibility – our children.
Each day these volunteer educators loyally soldier on, without need for strokes or even recognition. They are following the beat of a more transcendent drum.
Nineteenth-century missionary David Livingstone famously reflected on his years of faithful service in Africa. In 1857 he spoke to students at Cambridge University: “People talk of the sacrifice I have made in spending so much of my life in Africa. Can that be called a sacrifice which is simply paid back as a small part of a great debt owing to our God, which we can never repay? Is that a sacrifice which brings its own blest reward in healthful activity, the consciousness of doing good, peace of mind, and a bright hope of a glorious destiny hereafter? Away with the word in such a view and with such a thought! It is emphatically no sacrifice. Say rather it is a privilege.”
I have a hunch that if we could peek into the hearts of our Regents volunteers we would find these same sentiments.
So when you think about what it takes to give your children such an excellent and God-centered education at Regents Academy, thank the Lord that He has given you the means and the vision to send your children here. But thank the Lord also for the sacrifice of faithful volunteer teachers and staff members who give and give and give.
There truly is nothing new. God gives to us, and, under the bright sun, we give in imitation of him.