Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Jesus in School

My gifted/advanced classes are reading a memoire by Paul Zendel. In one of the pages we read today, Zindel discusses his desperate search for meaing and purpose during his teenage years. I asked my students if they ever thought about that... why are we here? what's the point? I wasn't expecting the LIVELY conversation that followed...

"It doesn't matter. We live and die and it's all nothing."
"I think about that a lot, and I don't think there's an answer."
"Maybe it's just about doing all the things you want to do before you die."
"I think you should be nice and love others with your life."
"Well, the purpose of life is to get to the afterlife."
"A lot of different religions worship one god, and I think it's basically the same god. So as long as you are a part of one of the major religions, you should be ok - for this life and when you die."

My heart was overwhelmed with sadness that so many of these students had NO CLUE that they are sinners, that Jesus died for them, that they can have a relationship with Him and live an abundant life, and that Jesus is the ONLY way to miss Hell and make Heaven. NO CLUE. I probably had 30+ students share their opinions, and it wasn't until the very end of the day that ONE student finally answered the "purpose" question with:

"We are here to enjoy and glorify our Creator."

Yep. That's it. Although I didn't agree verbally with the student, I did tell my students that there was one universal, true reason for our existance, and if they would search hard for it, they would discover that one truth. When I got in the car this afternoon, I desperately prayed that God would give them a yearning for truth, and that He would reveal Himself to them.

Sometimes it's overwhelmingly difficult to teach in a public school, because the kids act like the lost kids they are. But, the quote below echoes the feelings I have about my calling to teach in a public school. It also makes me pray earnestly for strong, mature Christian students to step forward and unashamedly proclaim Christ in their schools.

"Trusting that my children will grow up to be believers, I am convicted that it is my duty as a parent, and as a Christian parent, to prepare my children to fulfill that calling in their lives. I believe they can best heed this call by being in the culture in which God has seen fit to place them. I want them to be with kids who are not Christians, to be friends with them and to love them, to learn what separates them from their friends, and to begin to understand how their convictions make them different from others. I want them to see and know and understand and believe in the superiority of Christianity to any other religion or way of life. I want them to see what the world has to offer and to see that it quickly loses its lustre." - Tim Challies

(found this quote on a favorite blog - "lowercase letters" by Carissa Graham)

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