Greatness Among Us

I have put this off long enough. The students are now home for the summer and the teachers have completed their last day of school for this year too. All that is left to do is send home report cards and take care of some other administrative details and the 2009-2010 school year will be history. It was a very good year, if I do say so myself. As much as we all look forward to the end of school ("The end of a matter is better than its beginning," says Ecclesiastes 7:8), the end is also bittersweet. Toward the end of school, the students lingered, signing each other's yearbooks, somewhat reluctant to go home. Today, teachers dropped by the school office at the end of the day to say good-bye, and though each has earned a long, well-deserved rest, those of us who remain to work in the school office this summer will miss being with our friends and colleagues on a near daily basis. We do love each other.

These past two days, we have had the opportunity to spend some time with Pastor Lange, Pastor Scibelli, and Pastor Taggart, all who have ministered beautifully to our souls. One thing that Pastor Taggart said this morning stays with me, and I would like to share it with all of you, because it reflects my heart as well. What he said, as best as I can recollect is that what makes our Christian school great is not the curriculum or its facilities, but the quality of the lives of the staff and the teachers. He said that the life of Christ is available to each student every day in the lives of each adult in our school, and that he wants his daughter to be more like her teachers when she grows up.

That is profound. Luke 6:40 says that everyone who is fully trained will be like his teacher. When you consider that, as a parent, you are responsible for the education of your child, the person to whom you entrust your child for his or her academic education is crucial, since your child will tend to become like his or her teachers.

I am in awe of our teachers. I sometimes wonder if people have an inkling of the quality of the lives of our teachers at GGCA. I have the privilege of being around these humble giants and catching glimpses of their greatness, hearing from their hearts. It blows me away. I am astonished. I feel like Isaiah when he saw the Lord high and lifted up and said. "Woe is me!" or like Moses when he saw the Lord in the burning bush and realized he was standing on holy ground. I feel humbled by the Christ I see and hear in their lives. Yes, we are all feeble sinners working here at GGCA and prone weakness and failure in our humanity, but these jars of clay are filled with rich, spiritual treasures that are lavished on students without reservation. 

And they consider this life where they are called to die daily, to decrease, to be spent and to be poured out to the last drop their reasonable service. Pastor Scibelli said that teaching is one of the most demanding callings he knew and that it made pioneering on the African mission field easy by comparison. I have never been to Africa, let alone pioneered there as a missionary, but I believe him. Teaching is hard. It takes so much out of you. It is fun most of the time, but it requires that you give your all to it in order to get the job done well. Think about how you care so much about your children, sometimes losing sleep over something going on in their lives, and then consider the teacher who cares about each and every one of his or her students, sometimes losing sleep over them too; and there's a lot of them to lose sleep over. Pastor Scibelli said that the summer was our preparation for the next school year, not a vacation, and I agree. Great teachers receive from God all summer long and come back with fresh vision and purpose each fall.

I think that we need to have a Teacher Appreciation Day next year, sometime in the doldrums of the third quarter of school, where we on purpose recognize our teachers for their service to us all. Let's pick and day and bless their socks off! Thank God for godly teachers!

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