Last Sunday our church honored those brave, hardy souls that came week after week to teach squirrelly children about the love of Jesus in Sunday school. These are people who intentionally chose to not sleep in on Sunday mornings for a good nine months. They volunteered knowing that antsy little boys and chatty little girls would ask unbelievably hard questions about God and life and the universe. Some of our teachers who serve week after week also have been faithful year after year. If there was a Sunday School Teacher Hall of Fame, I would have several inductees.
Being a Sunday school teacher can be daunting and thankless. So, at the close of the school year, we sing the praises of these unsung heroes.
After applauding the sacrifice and dedication of these wonderful people, the congregation settled in for PB’s sermon. He was preaching on Hebrews 11 – the great “Faith Hall of Fame” chapter. The writer names several giants of the faith like Abraham and Moses, but ends the chapter with many unnamed saints who “faced jeers and flogging, while still others were chained and put in prison. They were stoned, they were sawed in two; they were put to death by the sword.”
That jarring statement suddenly made teaching Sunday school look pretty tame.
So far, not one of our teachers has been sawed in two.
What we call “sacrifice”, the saints of old might have called “privilege”, “opportunity to serve”, or even “joy”. Until I am chained and put in prison, maybe I better rethink the use of the word “sacrifice”.
Some of my friendly blog buddies have been wondering if I am just now “coming to” after the twin news. I admit, the announcement did leave me speechless for a while. But actually, the silence here at Small Drop has been a bit of an experiment. What happens when I stop writing…or posting….or speaking? Do people stop reading….or logging on….or listening? How long are we willing to wait to hear from someone?
How about 400 years? Malachi wrote the last word of the Old Testament sometime around 430 B.C. Then came four centuries of silence. No prophets spoke, no predictions were proclaimed, no judgements were called down on the wicked, no blessings were promised to the faithful. Nothing. Silence.
Four hundred years ago it was 1512. Martin Luther was in seminary and Michelangelo was painting the Sistine Chapel. What if we had not heard from God since 1512? It’s remarkable that the story even survived. It’s astounding that God’s people continued to wait and hope and pray. Somehow, each generation kept handing down the directive: Wait. God will speak again.
Then He did. His first word after all those long years was, “Waaaahhhhh.” He cried. The priests weren’t expecting a baby’s wail. They were sure it would sound more like a thundering voice coming out of smoke and fire, “Thus saith the Lord.” So they missed it.
That’s what I love about God — He keeps me on my toes. Just when I think I figure Him out, He does something wild and unexpected.
My experiment with silence on the blog confirmed my suspicions, as each day fewer and fewer people stopped by. And then something wild and unexpected happened. Yesterday, after all those days of no posts, hundreds visited Small Drop for my biggest day ever. Figuring things out is highly overrated. Being surprised is much more fun.
Lord, I welcome Your surprises. Go ahead and say or do what I’m not expecting. Just don’t let me miss it.
In the past God spoke to our forefathers through the prophets at many times and in various ways, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son. Hebrews 1:1