Funny story...when I was a high school senior, I got involved in an underground newspaper that excoriated the school administration with biting wit and hilarious satire (or at least so it seemed to my 17-year-old mind). But because one piece of humor in the newspaper was perceived as threatening, my fellow perpetrators and I were suspended for a week and temporarily had many of our senior privileges taken away. I say “temporarily” because a certain public interest law firm concerned about civil liberties (that shall remain nameless here) got wind of our story and filed a free speech lawsuit against our administration—and won!
Little did I know that twelve years later I would be sitting down to interview for my first teaching job across the table from the very principal who had suspended me and was sued as a result! Gulp.
Could this unfortunate coincidence have stopped me from becoming a teacher? At the time, finding a teaching job was proving difficult. I needed to provide for my wife and two young daughters, but was a high school social studies candidate who didn’t coach and had not yet completed the coursework for my teaching license. Needless to say, this position at my alma mater seemed like my only chance.
For the interview, I had prepared a clever, self-deprecating joke to disarm the situation, but fortunately for me, he didn’t remember the incident, and I got the job. His playful jibe about me “getting out of the publishing business” at the staff Christmas party later that year let me know that he had since remembered and thankfully was able to joke about it.
It struck me later that his innocuous joke pointed to something more profound. As a teacher, I was indeed called out of an old “business” and into a new one, much like Peter was called out of the fishing business to become a “fisher of men.”
For those who are called to this business of education and who are willing to step out in faith, God will overcome any obstacle, even the foolish choices of a 17-year-old, to complete the good work that he has begun in you (Philippians 1:6).
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