Where did we ever hear that educating Christianly was going to be easy? Fundamentally we are trying to teach the important knowledge of this world and at the same time take our students beyond this earthly level of understanding to a knowledge that is beyond our comprehension – to the wisdom of God.
It isn’t easy – we are sometimes disappointed with students who profess one thing and then so clearly don’t connect their beliefs to living, with parents who seek only safety and/or success from our schools and don’t seem to understand our mission; with colleagues who lack passion, discourage faith or who don’t teach in a distinctively Christian way, with administrators who take the politically correct route and lack courage, and with churches who are fearful to admit any differences between public and Christian schools and any affinity to a Christian education approach lest someone be offended. We grind our teeth when we hear of choices away from a Christian education that are not made for the right reasons – the root causes often being parents buying in to a certain standard of living of peers and refusing to make any changes in consumption of an ever increasing standard of North American living. Consequently many schools face enrollment issues. Part of our surprise seems to arise out of applying a business model to our school thinking – if we build the best car on the block why won’t everyone buy it? It is this consumption model that gets us into trouble. We definitely should build the best car as an offering of our very best to God, but will people be willing to pay for the car? How good does the car need to be – at what cost? And how do we know it is the best? It is not easy to balance cost and quality . . . with faithfulness . . . and an eye on the competition down the street.
We sometimes forget that we are called to faithfulness and sacrifice – the old hymn asks: “Must I be carried to the skies on flowery beds of ease – while others fought to win the prize, and sailed through stormy seas?” My generation sometimes expects that we are somehow entitled to beds of ease – without the struggles endured by our parents and grandparents. Are we expecting smooth sailing or are we ready to grit our teeth into the storm with a supreme confidence in the Master of the wind and the waves? We are into the budget and staffing planning season for schools – difficult decisions will need to be made. We must continue to work with each other, support and encourage each other, help each other to do our work faithfully to the glory of the Lord. We must do the best we can – not expecting anything to be easy – for we are engaged in a battle for truth – a battle for equipping students with the kind of wisdom that is not of this world, but that comes down from above. “Therefore…let us throw off everything that hinders and … and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith… so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.” Hebrews 12:1-3