Newt Gingrich in 1983 helped launch President Ronald Reagan’s study on Education called, “A Nation at Risk.” One of the conclusions stated “our schools were so bad that if a foreign power did to our children what our nation’s school are doing, we would consider it an act of war!” That was a perspective from 1983! We’ve heard a lot in the past few months about dangerously unfit curriculum and critical race theory, but if you would allow me, let’s look at the brighter side of education.
You will probably have a tough time believing this, but there was a time long, long ago, when I was shy… I was a shy timid young man who could barely get my nerve up to talk to a girl. Back then I seldom made eye contact, spoke little in crowds, and what’s worse, I would sweat BB’s when called upon to answer a question in class. All that changed one day back in 1979 at a place called the Scioto County Joint Vocational School. The setting was Mrs. Born’s 11th grade English class. You see, it was in her class that for the first time in my life I spoke in public! The assignment, if I remember correctly, was to speak for ten minutes or so on one theme. I can’t even remember what I spoke about, but I can still remember the tremendous hurdle I cleared in my life that day when for the first time I spoke clearly in front of a crowd and communicated a thought.
She was so kind and helpful as I journeyed through the seemingly easy exercise, but to me it was terribly frightening. There are those who might wish Mrs. Born had failed in her teaching efforts that day because I haven’t shut up since! I had no clue at the time that I would one day be involved with communicating with people in ministry on various levels on a daily basis. But God did. I am sure that particular day passed by like any other for her, but my life was changed. May I just stop here and remind all of you who are involved in education just how vitally important you are to the students whose lives you touch. You may never know the true success of your efforts, but you truly do make a difference.
Teachers matter! In school and in the church! You may have never heard the name Edward Kimball. To you, he may be a nobody…but he is a somebody. He was a Sunday School teacher who learned he was going to die. He had very little time to live, so he went out determined to lead all of his Sunday School students to the Lord. One particular conversion took place in the stockroom of a shoe store. That student’s name was D.L. Moody. Years later, Moody was preaching in the British Isles, and a lady teacher was so
moved by his testimony that she told it to her class. She, in turn, told her preacher, Frederick Brotherton Meyer, that every one of her students had given their hearts to the Lord. Meyer had heard Moody’s testimony, but was not moved. But the report by the teacher had a profound effect on his life. He said he realized for the first time what it meant to be brokenhearted about sin and pointing people to Christ. Meyer came to America and preached at Moody’s school in Northfield, Massachusetts. He said, “If you’re not willing to give up everything for Christ, are you willing to be made willing?” That remark changed the life of a young preacher named J. Wilbur Chapman. Chapman went on to be a great evangelist in his era. But when he decided to return to the pastorate, he turned his ministry over to a YMCA clerk who had been his advance man. The young man’s name: Billy Sunday. In 1924, Sunday conducted a revival in Charlotte, North Carolina. Out of those meetings came a group of laymen that formed a permanent organization to continue witnessing for Christ in their city. Eight years later, in 1932, that same group brought an evangelist named Mordecai Ham to town for city-wide meetings. One evening, a lanky, sixteen-year old walked out of the choir and gave his heart to Jesus Christ. His name: Billy Graham. And it all started when a Sunday School teacher with little time to live, made the most of his time; what he did has affected millions of lives.
The prophet Isaiah wrote hundreds of years before Christ was born. “For as the rain cometh down, and the snow from heaven, and returneth not thither, but watereth the earth, and maketh it bring forth and bud, that it may give seed to the sower, and bread to the eater: So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it. For ye shall go out with joy, and be led forth with peace:” All creation celebrates truth taught, truth learned and the fruit of a transformed life.
This writer’s opinion is their own and not the opinion of this newspaper
Tim Throckmorton is the Midwest Director of Ministry for the Family Research Council. He can be reached at 740-935-1406