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A person was injured, yet he just stood there and never tried to help…

August 21, 2014

I’m on my third cup of coffee this morning, trying to shake off a sinus headache, but I’m in very good spirits; school has had a strong start.  I am enjoying every one of my energetic students at Grace Christian Academy.  This year I have a full schedule of1dddd seven classes, so it’s been a pretty lively opening week: three New Testament Survey classes, two classes on the Life of Christ, and two Psychology classes.  We’ve gone full-bore into intense Bible study, group discussions and various unpredictable forms of learning – for instance, the picture you see on the left shows the instruction cartoon I draw for the students.  “Amazing Larry in the Transliteration Cosmos” has been a staple in my Koine Greek instruction for years, teaching the Greek alphabet through the use of deciphering the cartoon back into English letter by letter.

I am also teaching various Greek phrases and letters in short YouTube clips you can see here and here.

Debating comes up today.  I will play the part of the agnostic and the room will debate me on a number of spiritual points.

Please understand that the reason for all of this is not to be off-the-wall entertainment nor is it for the purpose of kowtowing to the needs of a short-attention-span generation, but rather to engage in what I call ‘kinetic learning’.  I believe that the reason for many non-Believers’ attitudes towards the Christian faith is that we have become inert in our evangelistic and sharing ministries as individuals.  I don’t think Jesus wants me to allow my students to leave my classroom without a challenge to take action when they see the need.

A funny story comes to mind that illustrates this.

In the late 1990s I was a youth pastor at a local assembly here in the Knoxville area.  Part of my compensation was housing, and I happily moved my small family into a tiny cottage at the edge of the church property.  It was cozy but I must admit it was rustic and worn from disuse, but the teens and parents alike volunteered to come over and help clean up the overgrown yard and clip the shrubbery one autumn Saturday.

That day was a bit frantic for me.  There were cleanup jobs all over the property and I knew this was pretty much a one-shot deal; once the folks left the property, all my free labor would be over.  I ran around throughout the morning, pointing out various needed jobs, handing out tools, weeding and raking alongside church members and generally encouraging people to realize how much fun they were having so that they would stay longer and perhaps paint or nail or mow a bit longer.  The yard truly was a mess; there were even holes gouged out of the lawn for whatever reason.

I saw folks slowing down in their raking so I hit upon an idea.  Running to the phone while rifling through my wallet, I figured that if I had pizza delivered, I would be able to thank the workers and encourage them to hang on for an hour or so longer.  I quickly ordered five pizzas and went back to trimming some overgrown trees with some teens – the pizzas would be here within a half an hour.  Most of the folks were now making their way to the far edge of the property to battle some overgrown weeds and bag some old trash.

After a bit, I walked back inside to double-check my cash on hand and then heard a call from the side yard – the pizza guy had pulled up.  I grabbed the dollar bills and fistful of quarters and ran out the backdoor to meet him.  He put the five pizzas down on an old picnic table and pulled out his receipt.  I hopped off of the porch, holding my money tightly while trotting to him…

And remember that I told you the yard was filled with potholes?

A well-meaning parent had raked all of the leaves into one of the two-foot-deep holes.  It appeared to be level with the lawn.

I stepped into it.  Rather I fell into it.  I pitched forward face-first and slammed my head into the turf.  A sharp pain exploded in my foot.  I had broken a bone.  The throbbing was almost unbearable.  I writhed on the ground in agony, and rolled over, looking up and blinking, trying to comprehend what had just happened.

The pizza guy was standing over me, just staring down. He didn’t move a muscle.

I was thrashing in pain, moaning, my face dotted with wet dirt and crumpled leaves … and the pizza guy stood there, looking down at me with a poker face. He never made a move to help me.

“That will be twenty-nine dollars and seventy-five cents,” was all he said.

I blinked and looked up at him.  “Huh?”

“The pizzas come to twenty-nine dollars and seventy-five cents.”

For some reason, I still had the money in my hand.  I handed it up to him.

He counted it.  “Do you want the change?”

“No, go ahead, you keep it.  I added your tip in there as well.”

“Well, thanks.”

A father came running over to help me.  The pizza guy watched him gingerly lift me up, and then he faded into the background, started his Datsun  and quietly left.

I’ll bet you think I’m making this up.  Can’t say I blame you, but I have folks who witnessed the whole thing and will verify every detail.

And believe it or not, it’s a lesson that I learned which fires me up in the classroom.

Pizza Man saw someone in obvious need. In pain, even.  But he neither cared nor – and this is my great suspicion – did he know how to help a person in pain.

I feel that Christians in general are just like the pizza man.  Please re-read the story and see what I’m trying to tell you.

I must get back to my school work.  Class will begin in an hour.

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