A Well-Deserved Tribute

Colossians 4:17 …Take heed to the ministry which thou hast received in the Lord, that thou fulfil it.

I was fortunate to attend a life-changing event the other night: a retirement party for Richard Mallino. What an amazing tribute to a man who has invested year upon year into Christian education. Richard had a vision to train children not only academically but spiritually as well.

When it came time to send my children off to school, I was keenly aware that my husband and I were the ones who were going to give account of how we raised them. I realized that putting them in school represented the MAJORITY of time for most of their lives. If I had to relinquish the responsibility and send them away for day upon day, month upon month, year upon year, I had a very strong realization that the focus, friendships and relationships surrounding them, AND the authority I put them under needed to have the same heart, mind, and spirit that I would raise them with and support my values.

For that reason, we sacrificed extremely to put our children in Christian schools. Little did I realize that the sacrifice in itself guaranteed that the families that also put THEIR children in Christian school, families my children would be surrounded with and hang out with as their friends’ families, had very strong core convictions.

The teachers, having had to sacrifice higher salaries, had in mind a MINISTRY of pouring into the lives of children for the Lord.

Was it perfect? No. But I believe that when you seek the LORD and HIS righteousness, everything else would be added. When I turned my children over to others to raise them or take a huge part in raising them, I knew that those I turned them over to would be praying with and for them, seeking their spiritual good, and pouring into their lives for success. I knew their friends would come from families that wanted to see the Lord glorified in such a way that they sacrificed vacations, clothes, and even housing to surround their children with Christian values.

There were many many incidents of kids that did wrong things in the school, but it was the minority, and was not respected by the majority of kids.

Richard Mallino poured his life, love, spiritual energy, and support into being a part of thousands upon thousands of kids’ lives. I love the way one speaker said that he fought for kids, for the Lord, and for the teachers. He fought to keep the school and the vision alive, even against financial problems and even with a constant barrage of stones being thrown (as is always the case with leadership).

I was very challenged by the testimony of Richard’s vocation: his life impacted many kids, many parents, many families, and even many generations to come. Not many people can impact the number of people that Richard did in his vocation. He was faithful to what Christ called and equipped him to do.

I know that my children were recipients of the benefits of his dedication. My children serve the Lord today because of the people that poured into their lives, and the friendships, and even the dating relationships that were made because of Christian education. Their faith was supported and bolstered instead of torn down. I planted, the school watered, and GOD gave increase. I also am so grateful that my children didn’t have to go through huge, destructive lessons to see the power of God. I am humbly aware of the part that Christian school played in the spiritual lives and convictions in my family.

Yes, as Matthew 25.23 says, “Well done good and faithful servant.” May we all be encouraged to live our lives to impact others and fulfill the ministry Christ left US here to do. I am challenged…