A Final(?) Chapter
Over the past number of months I have chronicled my journey into and out of teaching. Today I would like to write the final (for now!) chapter of this story.
When I stepped out of the workforce to spend much needed time as my Mom’s advocate and caregiver, I knew that it was not a permanent move. I knew the day would come when I would return to the workforce in some kind of ministry opportunity, as God would direct and lead.
As the time to pursue a specific direction has drawn closer, I have considered a number of possibilities. Perhaps I would get into intentional interim pastoral ministry. I had considered that in the past; but now that door seemed closed. I could have become sort of a “professional pulpit supply” guy. I could have expanded that to not only filling in for vacationing pastors but organists as well! However, while I will certainly still do some pulpit supply occasionally, I knew this wasn’t to be the ultimate answer to the question. Maybe now was time to get into Hispanic ministry of some sort, as I have long wanted to do, but the timing of this just didn’t fit either. In the end, God has led me down the meandering path back to a place I am very familiar with. In the fall, I will once again be back teaching at Grace Chapel Lutheran School, where I have been in a variety of capacities over the past nine years.
So, what were the determining factors? I think God used three elements to bring me back full circle. First, I jumped at the chance to work with my former colleagues as well as new members of the cast and crew. In a previous blog I went into some detail as to my fondness for my co-workers. I won’t rehash all of that here, but I will remind us all of the great importance of the bonds we share in Christ, and the love and support that He gives us through those He puts around us on a regular basis.
Second, classroom teaching puts us in touch with kids. There are so many wonderful, valid, God-directed avenues of ministry to do in His kingdom yet it is classroom teaching where we can build day-by-day relationships with students, where we can proclaim the name of Jesus through words and actions every day. I missed that tremendously, and I knew that God was pointing out that void, and that He could fill that in the classroom!
Third, when we teach, every morning brings new challenges, and some days kick our behinds. A big part of the allure is knowing there will be days when only the presence of God will get us through, when the forgiveness and salvation of Jesus is not just something we proclaim but something we ourselves desperately need to hear. There are days when we fail, and on the micro level, there are no guarantees of success on a given day or with a given task. However, having no guarantee of success makes the days of success all the sweeter—and IN CHRIST, the work WILL be successful! If I can go to work and know that my wins and losses, my successes and failures, are all needed by somebody I’m going to run into today, why would I go anyplace else?
So, here we go! Thanks be to God for His gift of a Savior; and thanks be to God that He graciously includes us in the work of His Kingdom!