“And calling His disciples to him, He said to them, “Truly I say to you, this poor widow put in more than all the contributors to the treasury; for they all put in out of their surplus, but she, out of her poverty, put in all she owned, all she had to live on.”

If you’ve spent anytime around athletics the phrase “All in” has certainly drifted across the bow of your vessel once or twice.  The phrase “All-in” will co-habitat with words about “commitment” and “dedication”.  These are words like “responsibility” and “allegiance” that have lost a little meaning in our present culture. “Persistence” slipped away during an earlier time frame for similar reasons, “discipline” likewise. Why? It’s really pretty simple, people like “Easy”. What isn’t easy and therefore requires all the aforementioned is the virtue of “Faith”.  It is “Faith” which requires you to believe in what cannot be seen; its working tools are patience and trust. The old widow women had commitment, dedication, patience, responsibility, allegiance, surely perseverance, most assuredly faith. It takes all of these virtues in more than a healthy dose for someone to be “All in”. It’s one thing to sit and write about such things, quite another to live them out; and, still even a greater thing to find them in others and point them out, along with the honor they possess. For how do your sons and daughters know how to act if you do not point out, the virtuous and honorable acts of men as examples. If we do not possess them ourselves we would be unwilling to lift up another who does, slowly they slip from our cultures possession.  Why, because it is so Easy.  “What we do in life echoes in eternity”.  This is a quote that put to light of the aforementioned dialog gives one pause for concern. Being “All in” is so much more than a coach’s cliché.

Bill Bennett, former Secretary of Education wrote about such things under the titled: The Book of Virtues. The profile reads:

Responsibility. Courage. Compassion. Honesty. Friendship. Persistence. Faith. Everyone recognizes these traits as essentials of good character. In order for our children to develop such traits, we have to offer them examples of good and bad, right and wrong. And the best places to find them are in great works of literature and exemplary stories from history.

Consider that such a task is the equivalent to being “All in”; that such an undertaking is first a matter of “Faith” and lastly a responsibility; patiently trusting in what will result in your children (something presently unseen) that you expect (believe) will dramatically change their lives.

Now, consider each virtue, responsibility, courage, compassion, honesty, friendship, persistence and faith.  What additional story can you share with your sons and daughters?  Does the story have you as a central figure? If it did, think how powerful that would be for your son or daughter to hear?

The Caesar, Marcus Aurelius speaks to his general:

Marcus Aurelius: You have proved your valor, yet again Maximus. Let us hope for the last time.

Maximus: There is no one left to fight, sire.

Marcus Aurelius: There is always someone left to fight. How can I reward Rome’s greatest general?

Maximus: Let me go home.

Marcus Aurelius: Ah, home.

Yes, Home is the place we see as rest; but, as Marcus Aurelius points out, there is always someone left to fight. A man must fight for his home, and remember that his children see him, as much as, the greatest warrior on the planet, as Maximus Decimus Meridius himself.  That is of course, if he chooses to be “All in”.

Have I overstated the precepts of the virtues, gone too dramatic in my case? Maybe I was raised in a home that didn’t “spare the rod”, or maybe I’ve walked on the gridiron too long, places where discipline and virtuous character where held in high esteem. Whichever is the case, neither one harmed me.  The story of the old widow is one of my favorites because it reminds me of how short I fall, that we all fall, in the matter of simply being “All in”.  Oswald Chambers writes, “that our goal should be to become what God desires”; to live like Jesus.  If my time on earth were through there would be a great “yes” and I could finally say “there would be no one left to fight, Sire”. But until that day arrives, and especially if you’re a father, you must do as it was said of Elijah, “Who girded up his loins and outran the chariots”, be “All in”. Paul exhorts us to run the race in such a way that we may win; I think this is hard to do unless you give from that area which is all you have to live on.  Over-Dramatized, so be it, just read the paper and watch the news, it’ll come around to you.  But, it will take all the virtues and it will not be easy, if you desire to live a life that will echo in eternity.  It takes courage.   C.S. Lewis wrote: “Courage is not simply one of the virtues, but the form of every virtue at the testing point.” Aint it so!

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