This post is for all the Christians who are about to start another school year as a teacher, an aide, an administrator, or even a bus driver or the person who rides along in the bus to make sure the special ed kids’ needs are met. If you’ve ever wondered how being a Christian can matter when, of course, and appropriately, a school isn’t a place for evangelism, this post is especially for you. This post is on the significance of BEING THERE.
I left a ministry-related position a number of years ago to answer a strong call to return to the school setting in a supportive role. I was volunteering in the school library during the annual used book exchange, when God gave me a strong push in that direction. Books were spread all over the tables–piles and piles of them. A boy about ten years old picked up the largest one on the table and held it out to me, and asked, “Is this a good book?” As you may have guessed, it was a children’s Bible, very similar to one I had when I was a child. “Yes!” I told him. “I love that book!” He looked very pensive, and then said, “My grandfather used to read the Bible to me. But he died.” “It’s only a quarter!” I told him. My throat suddenly felt very thick.
I often think of him, and smile as I remember the way he clutched that large, worn book as he made his way past the piles of other books to the person taking the money–especially on rainy, blustery days when I’m doing playground duty and my reason for being there doesn’t seem to be as crystal clear. But that’s just it. We never know when that moment is coming when someone will need us to be there–to be the one that’s asked a question that can be answered with affirmation, hope, and enthusiasm, or with a shrug, some noncommittal statement, or even some barely-disguised hostility. I’m glad that I was there when he picked up that book, if for no other reason than it gave me a chance to see God at work in the public school setting through a pile of donated books.
It’s kind of like baseball. You never know, as you’re about to enter the stadium, if this is going to be a run-of-the-mill game, or a record-breaking sixteen-inning game for the ages. It’s the day in, day out routine that makes the special moments possible. I pray that your upcoming year is one for the ages, with special moments where you are just the right person to be in just the right place to say just the right, encouraging thing to just the right student. Thank you for being there!
See It’s Kind of Like Baseball, Part 2 next time, for more.