The year was 1695. It was midnight. There were no street lights or electricity. It was pitch black in the house. A ten-year-old boy is tiptoeing down the stairs with only a candle to light his way. He shields the light with his hand to keep the light from spilling all over and waking up the adults. He slowly opens the door to the study, knowing if he pushes too fast, the hinges will squeak and his adventure will be found out. He has a burning passion for music but he has been told that the music used for the church is too valuable to be used by children. He squeezes his arm through an opening in the lattice and he rolls up a piece of organ music and pulls it out. He spends the rest of the night copying the music on another piece of paper, all by candlelight. He cannot wait to play this music the next day.
Let me ask you this question, what sets apart someone who is in favor with God and on the way to enjoy the blessings of heaven and someone who is turning away from God and on the path of destruction? The answer is, what makes you happy. I mean deep down, what you really want to satisfy your heart desire.
As “there are no small things” we are told to “work heartily, as for the Lord” (Col. 3:23), something as simple as making your bed can do wonders for your happiness and health, and carefulness is a virtue, according to Aristotle, then paying attention to details and concentrating on bettering seemingly unimportant small skills is important for the overall well-being, success, and fulfillment of a student. Thus, the insistence when a teacher makes you put your heading in the correct corner with each piece of information, or makes you use graph paper for math, or makes you re-do an answer that she cannot read—are all examples of an effort to help a student realize the importance of being careful with details.
The sermon uses the metaphor of games for resource allocation and human cooperation to help understand the story of the creation of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil in Genesis 2. Students were challenged to ask themselves about the goals of the various games they play in life (family, school, religious, etc) and whether or not the strategies they employ will lead them to desirable outcomes. The standard is God’s claim that the world is a better place with humanity than without it (Genesis 1:26-31). Are you handling your life in a way that allows you to assess it the way God originally assessed man’s presence in his creation?
It is interesting to me that Psalm 1 starts off negatively. David writes, “blessed is the man who walks not”. You would think that a book that says a lot about praise and worship would start with a “Hallelujah” but if you remember, the first word is blessed. There are amazing blessings in Christ but the first blessing is something you should not do. If you don’t do this, you will be blessed. What is it? Listen to verse 1 again
In Genesis, we see that man is made in the image of God (Genesis 1:27). Part of what this means can be found in the way God creates. He first creates a formless mass of chaos (Genesis 1:2) and then progressively organizes the world after a fashion that makes it amenable to human beings and their experience of God’s presence. This is capitulated in the story of Eden (Genesis 2:7-15), where God creates a space for man to meet with God that is the ideal composition between chaos and order. If we see God’s creative work as a symbol of what it means to be a human being in God’s image, we can see that man is the being that negotiates between chaos and order on the earth. We do this by finding ways to cultivate nature in a way that brings something new out of it that was not there before without eliminating its potential entirely. A good example might be a garden in which there are no insects. Without bugs, the garden will produce no fruit. It is too orderly. But in a field without cultivation there may or may not be food fit for humans depending upon weather and animal activity. In connection with John 1:1-18 and Colossians 1:15-20, we can see that
I wasn’t born in Nebraska. My dad was in the Air Force so we moved around a lot when I was young but we finally settled in Nebraska and I consider it home. I started attending a public school until my dad made the decision to quit his job and become a Christian school teacher. I joined the school a year later as a student. The school was not like Annapolis but I appreciated being taught in a Christian environment. I participated in junior high band and enjoyed choir. I acted in One Act and in one of the school plays, Anne of Green Gables. I was in the pivotal role as “farmhand #2”. I also played sports. The sport I excelled in the most was volleyball. My dad was the assistant girls’ volleyball coach and he was my ride home so, out of boredom, I began playing volleyball. After high school, I went to a Christian college where I played college volleyball and got a teaching degree. My first teaching job after graduation was back in Nebraska, where I spent the last 20 years in education.
As we end the school year with our final chapel today, I want to take the time to share from my heart what my prayers and wishes will be for each of you as I retire this summer. I am stepping down after being involved in various roles at the school for over 20 years—the last 6 as principal. It seems only fitting that I take this last opportunity to speak to you in my final chapel talk today and address you as a student body and as individuals who I have come to know and love.
This semester we have been studying intellectual character. Today we want to review all we have talked about. Continue reading