- The senior adult who taught me in fourth grade Sunday school (I think). I remember the dioramas we made but more importantly I remember she cried when I told her my grandmother died.
- The elementary grade Sunday School teacher who gave me a pin for memorizing the Lord's Prayer. I wore that pin for ages.
- The college student whose excitement and passion for the things of God were revolutionary to me. And contagious.
- Malcom, the big former Texas football player, who taught me in ninth grade; from his class I will never forget that bad company corrupts good character, that I am known by the company I keep and that what I reap I will sow. The amount of Scripture he had committed to memory was astonishing to me.
- Trisha, my college minister's wife and my friend during those crazy college years, who modeled for me wisdom and intelligence. From her I learned that as a woman I could hear from and know God for myself and that He had a calling specifically for me.
And there are more, Sunday school teachers and leaders through the years who faithfully taught me the truth of God's Word. Most I cannot even remember their names, but I remember their love for me and their love for the Word. Their legacy, their faithfulness to the Lord, endures today. In me.
I am who I am because of the humble service of these saints of God.
We need the church. I need the church. You need the church. That's a truth for another post's exposition but it is undeniably the message of the Bible.
The Bible is also clear: the church needs you.
We need each other. If you belong to Christ you have been gifted by the Spirit to serve the church for the common good. There are varieties of gifts and varieties of services, but the same God who empowers (1 Cor. 12:4-7). Your church needs you to serve her people in the provision and grace of the Spirit. This is the privilege and responsibility--and joy!--of the saints.
It's interesting to me to note that as I catalog those individuals who profoundly affected my life and faith, it is most often the layperson, the humble Bible teacher, the Sunday school teacher who comes to mind first. They were not professionals. Those who influenced me most knew me, loved me, and served me in the context of relationship.
Will you be the Sunday school teacher who will love a group of young girls and who will cry with them in their grief? Will you infuse in teenagers the priority of Scripture? Or maybe you will rock babies in the nursery so their moms can enjoy a hours' respite and uninterrupted Biblical instruction. Maybe you can serve your church family as you cook. Maybe you could clean the toilets or vacuum the sanctuary.
As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God's varied grace... 1 Pet. 4:10