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  • "A Musing Pastor"

Career students

Growing up on a farm isolated me from a great deal of discovery. As a family, we didn't travel a lot or go on vacations here and there. An occasional day visit to our relatives in eastern PA or west to Ohio was the limit. Oh, once we went to the Jamboree in Wheeling West Virginia and I felt like a fish out of water. Outside of Clearfield county, things tended to look larger and move quicker than down home on the farm.

My first experience of an expanded world occurred at Lock Haven University. I had the pleasure of sitting in classrooms of students from all over. One gal was from Argentina. Another gentleman called New York city home. It dawned on me that not everyone looked the same, thought the same, or believed the same things as me. Humf! Why do I recall my days in undergraduate and then Masters programs? Well, I also became acquainted with folks who love the education journey to the point of being a career student. Learning is their vocation. Maybe you have known associates like that.

Learning things is good. Education tends to expand knowledge at the same time expanding one's understanding of how the larger world operates. We are to be life students and always strive to learn something new daily. Yet, at some point we need to decide to implement our learning into an area of need.

Theoretically speaking, think along the lines of a medical student who spends forty or fifty years learning all there is to know about brain trauma, but never uses their knowledge to help someone with trauma. (I'm not suggesting research projects don't offer hope and help.)

I admire students of the Bible; those who dig deeply into the texts to mine gold and gain understanding about God's character. My struggle occurs when some folks love to dig into scriptures and have a fascination with Revelation and endtime prophecy yet rarely ever witness their faith or help somebody find their way to Jesus Christ.

It's sort of like attending weekly worship, sitting in Sunday School classes, then living the next six days holding tightly to a faith in God that doesn't require application. Many good-hearted and well meaning believers in Jesus hold the keys to help unlock another person's life locked in sin and yet never offer those keys to the incarcerated. What motivates folks to be life long learners but not life long savers?

Ron Hutchcraft once told the story of a beach known for violent riptides and one lined with many lifeguards. These lifeguards had undergone rigorous training to go into the water no matter what the conditions were. They were fearless and rugged. They were trained to save lives. He wondered what it would look like to have someone caught in a riptide sceaming for help and the lifeguards yelling back to the stricken, "SWIM! SWIM! SWIM!" instead of diving in to go rescue.

There may be faith communities that look and sound the same way. Believers heavily trained in the ways of God yet not willing to risk their position of comfort to help another person struggling with spiritual brokenness. Don't wait for the broken to save themselves and come to your church; you go and love them, hold their hand, and introduce them to Jesus. Your training has equiiped you for such a time as this.

“Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your

inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. For I was hungry and

you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger

and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I

was in prison and you came to visit me.’ “Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we

see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a

stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in

prison and go to visit you?’ “The King will reply, ‘I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the

least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.’ (Matthew 25:34-40, NIV)

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