Sunday, August 17, 2008

What I Learned From Dan

I have an incredible job. Tomorrow I am taking a van-load of teenagers out for lunch and a movie. And I'm getting paid to do this...

Fortunately, I am paid to do much more! If ministry was purely recreational I would have quit long ago.

More central to my call is the role of teacher. I love the classroom. I love discussion; communal discernment. I love the moments when I see new and deeper realities grasped by my students. By the grace of God, I am empowered as Minister to teach regularly. God has equipped me for this task and I take the responsibility seriously.

This past Wednesday I had a breakthrough moment. Usually, such moments are characterized by my treatment of a subject leading to a new understanding by my students. This particular moment was just the opposite.

During a discussion about themes from the book of Ephesians, I found myself trying to articulate the difference between a "good" man and a "righteous" man. Usually, I am fairly articulate about such matters. This time, I could not find my bearings.

It's one thing to look in the face of a student who is lost and confused - I do that all the time. It's quite another thing for students to witness uncertainty in the face of their teacher.

There was a period of awkward silence. Everyone waited for their Teacher to provide the answer. The answer did not come...

And then Dan Howard bailed me out.

"A good man is one who understands the difference between right and wrong and chooses to do right most of the time.

A righteous man knows only right. There is no option to do wrong."

Right there, on the spot, in the middle of youth group Bible study, Dan Howard nailed it. I have tried my best to put it in his words, but I promise he stated it better.

And so, the Teacher became the student. One of the great rewards from teaching is occasionally learning something from your students. Dan taught me something that was so simple, yet incredibly deep. Something I will always remember. Thanks, Dan.



Franklin Wood said...

I think this is all part of God's plan to keep us in the ministry business. If youth ministers knew everything, our job would be boring and probably quite frustrating! But the fact that God can use others (sometimes our youth) to teach US keeps us on our toes and gives us (hopefully) humility.
I've been learning a LOT this summer from a 13-year old kid. And I hope the learning continues.
Great post, man. Keep 'em coming.

Lovin' like crazy said...

Keep blogging, Dave. :)