Marriage/Parenting: Nine Words Set It All Right

Here is the Magna Carta that governs our family.

How many of us can point to a simple line, a phrase, that – like “All men are created equal” – undergird and guide the choices and priorities of our family? I wish I’d focused on this one a lot sooner:

“Jesus paid it all; all to Him I owe.”

I don’t know if Elvina M. Hall had children when she wrote these nine illuminating words. She did have a Methodist pastor for a husband, and no doubt, her signature hymn was a liturgical pillar at Monument Street Methodist Church in Baltimore, where she worshiped for four decades.

But consider how these words can order our family life! “Jesus paid it all; all to Him I owe.” How do we spend our money? Well, our Savior invites us to spend . . . and save . . . and plan for the future . . . and enjoy life. AND give charitably. Pay tithe. Sacrifice for the benefit of others. Because we owe Him.

We are all tempted to bicker and quarrel about petty things. But Jesus paid it all. We owe Him a life of humility, of self-surrender, of proper perspective. Christians who comprehend Calvary do not scream and wrangle over relatively minor issues.

We are greedy, grasping people who find it difficult to rest, to celebrate a Sabbath. But according to this classic hymn, and by the testimony of God’s  Word, we owe our Lord and Master a seventh of our time. If Jesus  indeed “paid it all,” is it such a sacrifice to cease from our labors and fellowship with Him for a glorious twenty-four hours?

Adulterous temptations may sashay past us on the sidewalk or dangle delicious opportunities at the office. But as we glimpse the cross each day, we’re reminded that we are indebted to the Creator of all marriages, that we owe the Lord a faithful union, a lifetime of promise-keeping.

I have a strong and poignant reaction these days when I hear this song sung in church – and amazingly, “Jesus Paid It All” is enjoying a resurgence even in today’s very contemporary services because, hey, Elvina Hall rocks! A new chorus affirms: “O praise the One who paid my debt.” And a family that understands the magnitude of that forgiven debt will never stray far from eternal wisdom.

And when before the throne, our family stands in Him complete. We’ll lay our trophies down, all down at Jesus’ feet.