Our church had the opportunity today to serve a fantastic breakfast to the teachers and the staff of
one of our local school campuses here in the town in which we live and serve. I love doing this kind of thing for the simple reason that it allows our folks to engage their community and simply and effectively serve other people. It also gives me a chance to speak to the gathering with some brief words of encouragement, share the gospel and pray for them and their needs. I particularly appreciate the opportunity to serve teachers and educators. Why you may ask? Because in my estimation they are perhaps the most strategic and vital players in the culture wars in which we find ourselves engaged. Not only that, they, like myself, have a particular calling to help guide folks in understanding vital truths. Also, it can be said I am partial to them because one of my daughters is a teacher and my wife Homeschooled our children for a significant part of their educational journey. This short entry today merely is for the purpose that you might be reminded to pray for our teachers and educators. Public School, Private School. Homeschool, PreK through Ph.D. - they all need our prayers and our support. It is no secret that they, along with Law Enforcement, our military and other areas of public service, are some of the most underpaid and underappreciated people you will ever have a chance to know. Yet still, they soldier on, dealing with an endless stream of governmental red tape, out of touch policies and parents that often times cause more issues than they offer solutions. Also, pray for the children and students. These are the formative years, and it is vital that we pray for our kids. Pray for Christians in these mission fields called school rooms, for our public school teachers have to find creative and intuitive ways to share the gospel. Also for our private school campuses, the fact that they may be parochial does not guarantee an easy go of it in gospel presentation. Homeschool parents need your prayers as they balance the issues of the home with the classroom and the burden that comes from taking a less than "traditional" approach. Merely put...would you pray?
A few years ago in the West Texas town that I served at the time, our community was rocked when our elementary school burned to the ground. To say we were devastated in an understatement. I have included an "Open Letter" that I directed to our teachers and staff following that dreadful day. It embodies just how I feel about the awesome people who teach our kids! The letter follows...read it and then...pray.
An open letter to the teachers, administrators and employees of PISD and Post Elementary School.
This past Sunday was not what we expected, and quite frankly, fulfilled one of our greatest fears. My day began like any Sunday. I was up early, praying and preparing for a day of worship, preaching, teaching and fellowship at FBC of Post where I serve as Senior Pastor. About 8:00am, I received a text from our Student Pastor, Joshua Fitchett, asking if I had heard about the Elementary School? I responded by asking what he was referring to and he texted back stating that “it was on fire” As I looked out my back window I saw immediately that was certainly the case and it was obvious to me that this would not be a ordinary Sunday or week or even school year for that matter. Our service that day was one of concern, mental and emotional distraction and grief. We were already grieving the death of one of our High School students the previous week and preparing for his funeral the next day. Simply put, we were filled with questions and had very few answers. That morning by faith we stood as a congregation as many of our members were fighting the fire and overseeing the damage and we sang together “10,000 Reasons” The words go “Bless the Lord oh my Soul, oh my soul, worship His Holy Name, sing like never before, oh my soul, I’ll worship Your Holy Name” We lifted our voices to God who knew that we needed to praise Him in the midst of the storm (fire) and we hoped for the best. Simply put, we trusted Him. My message that morning came form Revelation chapter 2 and was on the subject of our returning to our first love. It was an exhortation for believers to resist and even repent from the mundane of casual Christianity and return to that which first was evidenced in their lives when they began to follow Jesus. In essence it was a challenge to get back to the basics of following Christ and focus on that which drew you to His love and grace in the first place. I struggled because it did not seem that this was especially applicable to our context and circumstance that morning but after further reflection i do believe that there is a connection to what you sweet people are going through. I would like to share it with you.
You and I share something in common. What we do is a calling. I can relate to you. I really believe this. This is true in a general sense for all of us however it is certainly true for you as an educator. What you do is “heart’ business. My daughter is a teacher in the Wichita Falls School District and she knows that this is what God has called her to do since a child. You may not believe this but I believe it enough for you! Yours is an idealistic profession where you really believe that if given the opportunity you can make a difference in the lives of children and effect their future. You actually believe that given the chance, the time, the material and the resources you can change the future of not only the life of a young person but our community and our nation! I AGREE!!!!! Whole heartily!!!! You do not do what you do for the money, the fame or the notoriety, because as you well know there is precious little of any of that. On the most part we take you for granted, we often are quick to point out what we perceive shortcomings and we collectively do not support you nearly enough. We forget that sometimes a simple ‘thank you’ goes a long way. This is not as it should be. The events of this week and the overwhelming outpouring of support has reminded you that we as a community and a collective of parents, grandparents and community members have received a corporate ‘WAKE UP CALL” that not only are you needed, but you are a precious and treasured part of not just our school and community, but indeed our lives. In short we were reminded Sunday morning and through the events of this week that you are family. I hope you know how much we love you and treasure you. We may not always agree and sometimes we do not understand all the things you do or decide, yet this week as we watched you cry, grieve, and mourn the loss of our school building, we were reminded that you were not only grieving over the loss of the memories and structure of a building and facility, you were grieving for our children…because simply put…you love them! It is because of this we love you. We are praying for you and we STAND WITH YOU DURING THIS TIME OF REBUILDING. It is for this reason that many of us (A WHOLE BUNCH) have been challenged to ‘repent’ and return to our first love of recognizing and appreciating what you do and why you do it.
There is one other thing I would say in relation to ‘returning to your first love’ from your perspective. I know as someone who is also in the ‘heart’ business that we can become hardened through the years because at times we feel like we really do not make a difference in the lives of others. Your job, just like mine, is a occupation of routine. We are not flashy, we are not reinventing the wheel, we are not discovering new and better ways to do what we do. Simply put, we get up in the morning and we ‘get after it’ pretty much the same way we always have. At times what we do is unappreciated and overlooked. This can cause us to become somewhat mundane and even complacent in our calling. I am not saying this is necessarily true for you, but maybe you can relate. During this time I pray that for all the reasons above you know that this is an excellent opportunity to ‘return to your first love’ of teaching, of education, of administration or whatever you do or however God uses you in our schools. I know you have lost years of memories and resources or you have co workers who are grieving for that reason. Your plans have been altered and you lesson plans, if not burned up in the fire, have been thrown out the window, however there is an opportunity here for you and your co workers and fellow educators. The opportunity is that through all of this I believe you have been reminded of just how much you love what you do. What it is to be a part of the TEAM, and how much you really do matter! This is a great time to re focus on your calling. This coming Monday things will look very different for you. We still have no idea what your professional world will look like in the near or for that matter the distant future, but I want to remind you of something you already know. This coming Monday morning there will be one thing that is constant in my world and yours. I will rise in the morning and my family will prepare our children to “go to school” , and when they arrive YOU will be there to greet them and help them through this. THEY will be there to receive instruction in math, reading, spelling, history and all of that good stuff. Yet the most important thing they will receive is YOU, your love, your care and your calling to make a difference in their lives. We can and we will replace all that burned up and was destroyed on that day, but we cannot replace YOU. You are a educator, a teacher, a coach, a principle or whatever you do! That my friends is something the fire could not burn up…that is something that remains and is constant, and for this…I am grateful. Monday morning you will return to your first love of teaching and education…I believe with a new bounce in your step and a fresh out look on your role in the lives of our children. I believe through this tragedy you are in context, returning to your first love. Your first love of children, of education, of community. I know next week will be challenging but on behalf of not only my church but our community…we have TREMENDOUS faith in you!
Please know at FBC we are praying for you and we exist to serve the Lord by serving you. God bless you and my prayer is still, as before, that you have a great school year!
Pastor Jack Maddox
Our Recent Posts
October 23, 2018
Come away by yourselves...and rest
September 26, 2018
"The joy of brothers meeting, praying, learning...together"