Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Thanks To Those That Hallmark Missed

School is wrapping up this week for most students in our congregation. Last week we recognized our graduates and celebrated with them. This week, as a parent with school aged kids, I’ve been reminded again and again of those who have invested in the lives of our family in the last year. Sometimes finding the right words to express thanks for the myriad of jobs people do can be difficult. Did you know that Hallmark doesn’t make a card that says, “You’re a great teacher! I’m so sorry you were puked on during the class field trip!”

Hallmark also hasn’t begun to scratch the surface of custom cards for people who invest the lives of others, particularly those who do so as a part of living our their faith. We know that living the Christian life is a journey, and we all need to be lifelong learners. No matter what our age, to do that, we need those farther along down the path who can help us grow.

So I want to take a moment this morning to say “thank you” to those among us who invest a part of their lives in others to pass on what they’ve learned:  

People like children’s workers. Foster parents, adoptive parents. School teachers, administrators and aides. Sunday School teachers (for adults and children!) Casa advocates, those who tutor at schools over their lunch hours or at McDonald’s over breakfast. Those who teach music lessons, lead Bible studies and small groups, encourage younger pastors and lay leaders. Those who teach English Conversations. Youth volunteers. The list really goes on and on. THANK YOU! Two of our very own members who are also public school teachers retired this week after years of service.

In Galatians 6:9-10 the apostle Paul tells us,
9 "Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. 10 Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers."

I’d like to remind you of the harvest we’re cultivating here at Mattis Avenue. These photos were taken during a Children's Church lesson a few weeks ago. I gave the children a simple directive: write a note, message or prayer to God to attach to the end of a balloon. The simple messages they came up with on their own surprised me- in a good way! They've been listening, even if that's not always evident by looking at their squirming bodies!

Balloons with prayers and messages attached from the children.

A cross which says "I love you so much!" I love God so much because he is nice to me all the time."

Cross messages that say "I love you", "Jesus Christ", Jesus died", "Thank you".
Just like that teacher who got a messy surprise on the field trip, most of us who’ve taught can attest to the fact that ministry- helping others- is not always easy. You can walk away from a lesson time wondering if anything even stuck. I think it’s why Paul gives us a word of encouragement for not giving up.  If you’re teaching in some way, shape or form. THANK YOU! Be encouraged. And if you’re not, consider asking God about a way you can share your gifts and knowledge with someone.

I’d like to close with a short video, which is based on a true story, to remind all of us that God can use the lessons we are willing to teach in ways we might not imagine.

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