Where Are You Hurting?
LEA Weekly Devotional
2008–2009 series: Red-Letter Days August 5, 2008
Extended Reading: Romans 9:1–5
Where Are You Hurting?
―If there were any way I could be cursed by the Messiah so they could be blessed by him, I’d do it in a minute. They’re my family‖ (Romans 9:3 MSG).
When you go on break or recess with your class and playing catch results in x-rays, you know you’re hurting—and why!
Foot. Wrist. Nose. Knee … the list of pain colonies increases with age. But the kids who will be bouncing into your classroom—and maybe off your walls—mostly do not hurt like their older teachers. And they will become the loves of your life soon; they are your school or congregational family.
Some members of your student family may become pains!
No, we’re not talking about pains in the neck (or lower elevations). We’re talking
about pains in the heart. And if you don’t or won’t have any pains in the heart, then you probably died, went to heaven, and don’t know it yet.
Some students will bring on heartburn, or even heart failure (―Has anyone seen Julio? He went to the washroom 10 minutes ago.‖) And, like Paul, you may experience wrenching heartache. (If you don’t—please forgive the candor—perhaps you should re-evaluate your role in ministry and vocation.)
Paul hurt because of his people—his family. He hurt because so many would not transition from Old Testament promise to New Testament fulfillment and faith. Many continued their futile and superfluous legalism and refusal to recognize the Messiah. Unbelief doomed Paul’s people. Worse, Paul’s own people angrily denounced him as a betrayer.
Do the doomed inhabit your classroom?
Children with no church homes enroll in most Lutheran schools. Weekday schools and Sunday schools will have some too. Besides the students with no church homes, some have congregational homes, but they don’t spend much time there. How do you feel about them?
Those who suffer the normal sinner/saint conundrum are not the same as those who are doomed. The difference is that of faith versus unbelief. Bluntly, some of your students are destined for hell. How do you feel about them? Are you as bold as Paul in verse 3?*
You cannot teach in Lutheran schools and congregations unless you hurt for the lost, especially when they sit a few desks away. You also cannot sacrifice your own salvation to save them. Christ already did that for you and for them. You cannot
force them to believe, but you can employ prayer’s power.
Your students’ salvation isn’t your responsibility. However, you can’t let that stop you from compassion and proclamation. You possess and live the Gospel of Jesus Christ; therefore, you care and you pray and you teach and you hurt all in due measure.
The approaching academic year and the closing of summer programs offer many opportunities to rejoice and to hurt. Both are significant and natural characteristics of your ministry. May God send His Holy Spirit to fortify and fuel your hearts and souls for all that you will face and feel.
*Why would Paul make a seemingly rash and risky statement, as you read in verse 3? One commentator explains that Paul says this in context of whether such action was right according to God’s will.
Written by Edward Grube, LL.D.
Director of Publications & Communications
© 2008 Lutheran Education Association
Scripture quotations identified as MSG are taken from The Message. Copyright 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 2000, 2001, 2002. Used by permiss
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