Dark Chocolate for the Soul

Deciding to agree with God to go out on the mission field has had an unexpected side effect. Not like the frightfully dire side effects that one hears when watching prescription drug commercials. You know - the ones where the beautiful images of lives made wonderful by medication dance across the screen as an announcer calmly warns you that people with such and such conditions should not take the drug and that if something horrible starts happening, contact your doctor immediately. No, the side effects that I am experiencing do not require a trip to the emergency room or the cemetery.

The side effects I'm talking about are bittersweet words of edification. Fortunately, I enjoy the bittersweet taste of dark chocolate, so I can swallow people's expressions of mixed joy and sorrow and digest their rich, heartfelt words of appreciation. Sometimes I stand in wonder as people tell me who I have been as a teacher and a principal thinking, "Is this me they are talking about?" Truly, I do not know myself, not as others know me.

I think that a believer is a fool if he does not immerse himself in the Body of Christ, because it is there where we can discover our identity, our gifts, and our calling in Christ. I would not be who I am today - who people say I am today - if not for the Body of Christ. I shudder to think who I would be if I had not been a part of a local assembly like Greater Grace and had not attended a Christian school and Bible college. It was in church that I heard who God says I am. It was in Christian school that I discovered some of my gifts. It was in Bible college that I sensed God's calling on my life. Everything came together when I took the step of faith to move to Baltimore to teach at Greater Grace Christian Academy in 1989. I grew up here in Christ, in the incubator of love as Pastor Wayne Hogarth used to say; and now it's time to get out of the nest and fly, to spread my global wings, as Pastor Schaller put it in his book on missions.

I'm doing my best to receive everyone's words with good grace and to understand how they feel at my leaving before all their children have graduated. I hope that every student in our school has the same experience that I did in the spiritual sense - that they awaken to the reality of God's personal interest in them as believers and members in particular of His Body, and that they begin to discover their spiritual gifts and their place in their local assembly. We belong to Him just like our pinky toes belong to us; God says we are the apple of His eye - part and parcel of Who He is, inseparable. That's what I hope they all discover as they learn the uses of the quadratic formula, how to write citations for research papers, the proper way to shoot a foul shot, the joys of singing, playing music, creating art, or acting a role, and the beauty of the truths and promises in their Bibles.

Taste and see that the Lord is good, like dark chocolate for the soul.


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