I watched a movie last night called Freedom Writers – and it shook me to my core.
Freedom Writers is based on a true story about a teacher, Erin Gruwell, who loved her students enough to do whatever it took to help them change their lives.
Now, the idea of someone helping their students is not overly remarkable in itself. I had some wonderful teachers in school who genuinely wanted to help their students succeed. What is remarkable about Erin Gruwell though is the lengths to which she was prepared to go in order to achieve her goals.
If the film is accurate, she took two extra, part-time jobs to generate enough income to finance the programs she wanted to implement with the students.
Yes, you read that right. She worked full time as a teacher and then worked TWO other jobs to pay for the classroom supplies she needed.
As the movie ended and the tears ran freely down my face (I won’t spoil the movie by saying why I was crying), I took the time to ruminate on the thought that had been tugging at my heart all the way through the movie: Victory so often requires sacrifice.
Erin Gruwell sacrificed her time, her money and (according to the movie) sadly she even had to sacrifice her marriage to achieve what most of us would have thought was impossible. If she had not been willing to make that sacrifice then you can be almost certain that the kids she was teaching would have continued in the downward spiral that their lives were taking.
If you look at many of the greatest things that have ever been done, huge sacrifice was required.
- How many wars have ever been one without at least one person making a great sacrifice?
- How many great inventions have come about without someone sacrificing their leisure time, relationships and ‘normal’ life at least for a while?
- How many big businesses have ever been built without great personal sacrifice by the founders?
- How many sportsmen and women reach the top of their sport without huge personal sacrifice along the way?
… the list goes on.
Our very salvation came through a mind-blowing sacrifice.
I Don’t Have The Guts
Most of the time, I live with the feeling that I’m meant for more than this. I truly believe that I’m living a pale shadow of the life I was made to live – and most of you are the same.
I am convinced that we were all made for greatness. Maybe not greatness in the form of worldwide fame but definitely greatness in the sphere of existence into which God has placed us.
Most of us never achieve that greatness though because we’re not prepared to make the sacrifice required for it.
I am well aware of that in my own life. I know that I hold back because I’m afraid of what the sacrifice will mean in terms of our living situation, my relationships with my wife and kids my ‘free time’ and so many other things.
I live in a state of constant tension between the part of me that wants to break free and live and the part of me that wants to stay comfortable and ‘safe’.
I basically don’t have the guts.
I encourage you to watch Freedom Writers and then take the time to analyse your own life and ask these questions:
- “Am I being all I can be?”
- “Am I obeying God’s call on my life?”
- “Am I running away like Jonah because I’m afraid of the potential personal sacrifice?”
- “Do I have the guts to overcome my fears, take God’s hand and go wherever he wants to lead me?”
Do you have the guts?