“All I have and all I am.” In our wedding vows, this was just one of the things I promised, before God and assembled witnesses, to give to my Bride.
In the 31 years intervening, I’ve proven how many ways I can break such a vow. Can any of us, really, make such a promise?
Yet I meant it, and I carry many regrets over the myriad ways I have not kept that promise.
Most of us made similar vows on our wedding day. Has any of us kept them perfectly? Doubtful.
But should we carry the heavy burden of shame and regret that such failure (common to us all) engenders? Most of have been forgiven by our spouses, thousands of times, for not keeping those promises. They understand that we – as they – are human, fallible, and often selfish and willful. In those willful times, we are called to seek forgiveness. To make things right. Yes, we may wound each other, but that is part of loving relationship in this life. We’re not perfect – not until Jesus returns to transform us completely. Hopefully we do better with each month, each year of marriage. Hopefully we are greater and deeper lovers of our spouses as our life together proceeds.
“All I have and all I am.” Isn’t that what we are called to give Jesus when we finally understand His sacrifice for us and trust Him to save us? Yet, with our Savior, as with our spouses, we can go through life half-hearted. In Romans 12:1, Paul wrote: “I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship.”
That sounds a lot like “all I have and all I am,” doesn’t it? When a sacrifice was strapped to the altar, it didn’t get up or get to say, “I feel like doing something else today!” It was fully committed, all in.
To be a living sacrifice, we too need to be fully committed, all in. There’s no choice of turning back or turning aside. There’s no giving a piece of ourselves, to satisfy an angry deity, but keeping the best of ourselves for ourselves. God doesn’t leave us that choice.
What does He leave us, though? Do we lose ourselves? No, we are so much more ourselves – in Christ. Ourselves made new! “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.” (2 Corinthians 5:17)
It is disheartening when we make promises and then almost immediately fail to keep them. Promises to our spouses, to our kids, to our God. But all those regrets can be wiped away when we realize our position in Christ – the One who gave all for us on the cross and then cried out, “It is finished!”
“All I have and all I am.” By Your grace, in your Resurrection Power, Lord Jesus, that is what I offer you. Every day, for the rest of my life. In Your Precious Name, Amen.