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I refuse to let Bible become an elective

July 31, 2018


There’s a shocking revelation that struck me as I was going through the gospel of Luke.  My daily reading had rested upon the 21st chapter of Luke and as I followed the calendar of the week, I reached Wednesday of what is known as the Passion Week.  This is the final week of our Lord’s earthly life.  We all know that as we read the narrative, we will see that on Thursday Jesus will share with his disciples the Passover meal.  Following that He will be betrayed, with the result that Jesus Christ will be crucified on Friday.

On Sunday He will rise again, thank God above.

Go back, though, to earlier in the week.  The point I want to make is about the populace.

The crowd.

The “bystanders.”

Look at what a week has done to these people.

On Monday they were going wild over Him, even throwing down their own coats and letting the beast of burden trample their own personal robes as they screamed in excitement.  Tuesday was just as powerful; they were certainly buzzing about His in-the-face action in the very Temple itself, overturning tables and all.

But as the week wore on, the general reactions softened.  Grew “colder”, you might say.   They grew indifferent to His appearance and to His words – all within a few days! By Friday they would get drawn into a whole new fever pitch, but this time they would cry, “Crucify Him! crucify Him!” and agree with the leaders to see Him executed.

They got tired.  They wanted something besides Him.  They turned their back on Him.

Excitement to indifference.  Indifference to escape.  We want something new.  Something better suited to us.

We’ve read it and heard this narrative hundreds of times.  What’s the “shocking revelation”, you ask?

It’s this:  What I see in the course of the Passion Week, I see in the course of nine months in the school year.

The beginning of the year starts off with great excitement about being back on campus – on a Christian one, yet! – where we can rev up for the classes, and yes, we can learn about Jesus.  Hey, everybody’s happy.  The opening weeks of my various Bible classes are filled with smiles and fingers poised over the keyboard, ready to take in every bit of Scriptural teaching as possible.

Then, after August and as we move through September, something happens.  It’s an uneasy realization.  The spiritual drive is … sputtering.

Oh, there are always some intense and focused students who will stay after class to ask questions and stop me in the lunch line to discuss a particular Scripture passage every week.  In the general sense, though, I start getting a “meh” response.  The focus is on the grade.

By late February my energy is spent fighting the indifference. By Spring Break thoughts are wandering elsewhere.  I chat with some students about their church involvement – they admit that they have no regular church attendance – “Mom and Dad haven’t really found one that fits us, you know?”  I ask whether their parents have been discussing any of the Bible teaching at the dinner table.  More than once I will get “Well, no.  We don’t really get into that.”  What, then?  “We’re pretty intense about getting scholarships.”  “My folks really want me to concentrate on [insert sport or artistic talent here].”

You see, there’s no money in learning about Jesus.  Bible-intensive students don’t get scholarships or get golden career opportunities.

Bible has become an elective.  Remember the definition of “elective”?

An optional course of study.

That is what happens in many students’ hearts.  Bible is optional.  There are so many other concerns…

On our campus, this should never be.  Not with teachers.  Not with students. Not with coaches.  Not with administration.  Not with school board.  Not with families.

Not with me. 

Well, what can we do?

Here is an idea:  Mark 14:33 says that Jesus went into the Garden of Gethsemane being “very depressed”.  The word in Greek is adémoneó and means “sorrowful, not at home”.

Get this:  Jesus’ sorrow included being in an unfamiliar territory; He was of Heaven.   He was, in a sense, homesick.

That’s what I want to do with my students this year:  make them homesick.

I want them to yearn for Heaven.  I have a whole school year to get their focus realigned.  I want them to see this life as too temporary and too unfamiliar.  I want them to develop a homesickness for Heaven.

Tomorrow starts Teacher In-Service.  As I sit and get adjusted to another year in the classroom, I am praying for the proper way to fight this spiritual “optional” attitude.  This is one of my areas of ministry for the coming school year.  I ask the Lord for strength and guidance in doing so.  I am committed to seeing His name glorified.

And I refuse to let Bible become an elective.

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One Comment
  1. Thank you for this, which touched my heart.

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