What Do You Have Access To?
A few weeks ago I attended the Daytona 500 for the 6th year in a row. The 500 has become a tradition for my dad and I each February, but this year was unique. One of my dad’s work acquaintances was able to get us “backstage” passes to pit road and the garages. I’ve grown up watching NASCAR but never had I been given the opportunity to experience it firsthand from the viewpoint of the race teams. It was an odd experience because we were allowed to walk right into the garages and up the cars as the teams were working on them. Imagine walking right into your favorite sports team’s locker room and casually strolling in between the players as the coach gives the pregame speech. It was a fascinating experience.
The race ended up being postponed to Monday due to rain. We chose not to return on Monday (President’s Day) and instead we took my daughter with us to see the first day of the Phillies full squad spring training in Clearwater. Fans were lining the practice fields and surrounding the clubhouse wanting just to see a glimpse of their favorite team. No one had any inclination of when the team would actually appear, even though they issued a vague statement online that practices began at 10am. Even the security guards admitted that they weren’t given any idea of when the players would emerge from the locker room. And so we waited, and waited. After an hour of standing and waiting we chose to give up and head home.
On the ride home we reflected on the idea of “access”. On Sunday we had complete access to everything. Before the race, I sat on the pit wall and watched the 24 car’s crew set up for the race a mere five feet away from me (until Secret Service cleared us out to make way for the President). Compare that to the spring training experience where weren’t even allowed to know when the players would take the field. In a single day we went from complete access to none at all.
It doesn’t come as a surprise to anyone if I say we live in a world that is driven by the desire for immediate access to everything, all the time. For most of history the average person didn’t travel more than 10 miles from the place they were born. Access for most people was limited to what they saw around them. Yet today, even education has adapted to the expectation for unfettered access; we have 24/7 connection to grades, teachers, announcements, etc. There are great benefits that come with such access. Parents can take a much more active role in the everyday educational experience of their children.
I think the greatest access we have at LCS isn’t to the classroom, teachers, or grade book. Rather, it’s the ability for our students to encounter biblical truth each day. If a student is in school 180 days a year for roughly 8 hours a day then they will be in the classroom for about 1,400 hours each school year. That is 1,400 hours where students are in an environment where they are taught from the foundation of biblical truth. 1,400 hours where they are surrounded by faculty, staff, and peers who choose to be in a Christian community. 1,400 hours’ worth of opportunities to hear, see, and live the Gospel. That’s incredible access to something that many around our world face persecution for on any given day.
1,400 hours is how long a student is in school for one year. If we assume that the average believer is in church for at least one hour per week, for 52 weeks a year (not an entirely realistic assumption given vacations, sicknesses, etc.) that would mean that the average believer spends 52 hours a year in church. At that rate it would take over 26 years to spend as much time in church as a student spends in school at LCS in one year. Consider 12 years at LCS and it is equivalent to 312 years of church sermons.
Hopefully I didn’t lose you with the math. In no way is LCS a substitute for the local church. That is not my point. What I am trying to point out though is that at LCS students have incredible access to the Good News that most believers only get to hear once a week. If you get a chance in the near future, stop and consider the impact and opportunity such access God blesses us with at LCS. I think it’s fair to say that’s far more meaningful than any sporting event or autograph.