Early in my days at Asbury College, I learned the importance of the word ‘all’.
My Freshman Composition professor was generous in her use of the red pen in grading my work. Words I used frequently such as “always”, “never”, and “all” drew the red ink. This was especially true for the use of the word ‘all’. The professor informed the class these words expressed generalizations that were seldom true and typically should be avoided. Normally, there will be exceptions in most situations. For instance, we might say, “All of my friends agree on politics,” or “All of the houses in this neighborhood look alike”.
I did finally concede the point and usually tried to eliminate such absolute terms from my speech and writing. There is, however, an area where I will not yield. That is in the spiritual realm. The Lord’s words stand as absolutes for me. The following dialog illustrates the point: “And behold, a certain lawyer stood up and tested Him, saying, “Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life? He said to him, “What is written in the law? What is your reading of it?” So he answered and said, “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your strength, and with all your mind,’ and ‘your neighbor as yourself ’” And He said to him, “You have answered rightly; do this and you will live” (Luke 10:25-28, NKJV).
In our relationship with the Lord, partial obedience, half-hearted love, or incomplete surrender will not do. If we are to walk with the Lord and inherit eternal life, it must be an ‘all’ proposition.
The 1992 song ‘All That I Am’ by William Hines reflects the desire of my heart:
All that I am, all I can be,
All that I have, all that is me,
Accept and use, Lord, as you would choose, Lord,
Right now, today.
Take every passion, every skill,
Take all my dreams and bend them to your will.
My all I give, Lord, for you I’ll live, Lord,
Come what may.
Prayer: Lord I want to be “all in”. I want to live for you with no reserve, no retreat, and no regret.
~ Brother Roy