When I retired in 2002, I thought I was finished with the classroom. To be honest, I felt The LORD was moving me into full time ministry. I told myself that I would never go back to the classroom. … Never say “never”.
Well, I got a call from a principal in August of 2002. I was offered a job in Muhlenberg County. John Prine wrote that paradise had been hauled away by Mr. Peabody’s coal train, but the school was a beautiful building. There I was, back in the classroom. Since the school and students were new to me, I had no reputation to precede me. I remembered how difficult it was to gain are putative in the classroom, but how I loved it!
It’s funny, that God would allow me to retire and then lead me back into the same profession He let me leave. While I did accept a part time pastorate in 2003, I have been in the classroom in some form each school year since I “retired.” God has also provided opportunities to proclaim His WORD and prophesy (tell forth, not foretell). But I’ve learned that the classroom is my passion and my gift. Even when, I’m preaching, I’m teaching. I’ve noticed that my sermons are more instructional than evangelical. There is a reason for that. Let’s face the truth… “Truth” … That’s a novel idea. People who attend regular services today believe they are Christians, whether they practice the faith all seven days of the week or not.
Now it seems that the Sunday morning (and evening) preacher is talking to “Christians”. These “Christians” are a diverse group. Some are completely sold out to the LORD. They are what one dear friend calls “True Christians”” Some don’t quite have a handle on what Christianity is all about, buy they try. Even when there are picking and choosing what parts of the Bible they want to believe, they try. Others will do what they need to do to look the part… They will even do that on Saturday night (depending on who is watching). Then there are the folks who think church membership and making their semiannual pilgrimage (Easter & Christmas) is enough. What am isaying… Some don’t even make the pilgrimages. Pseudo membership is enough. There is a problem here. When you speak to a “Christian”, no matter what type, that person believes himself to be “safe from the fires of hell”.
That is why I’m not an evangelical teacher/preacher. You cannot evangelize a person who believes he does not need evangelizing. But one can teach what a Christian should look like and how a Christian should behave. Besides, the closer we get to God, the closer we get to each other. In teaching personal growth and trying to Disciple “Christians” one is actually evangelizing those who THINK they are saved and at the same time teaching Those who KNOW they are saved how the should be focused on God. Plus, it helps those who are sold out to Jesus affirm their faith.
You see, when a “Christian” finally realizes the reason he is not getting closer to God is that he doesn’t KNOW God, he has come to the realization that he isn’t what he thought he was. Most of the time the Holy Spirit will take over. Others need a nudge from a friend. That’s why I like James so much. He makes no bones about it. “You say you believe in God? Great! So do the demons and then tremble in fear!” You know… Man is the only Beijing ignernt enough to actually defy God. Even the demons submit to his commands. Old Ugly can’t touch you unless God says its OK. He must submit.
There is so much to teach and so many to teach it to, I reckon I’ll keep teaching. I am Realizing that God has provided me with a gift as well as several venues and teaching tools. A person would be a fool not to utilize that which God has provided for him/her.
Besides who would you rather be closer to… Your Creator… Or Old Ugly?