Back to School

Your summer months of vacation from the school classroom, that lasted for what seems like a very short time, are now finished. Back to school books to learn more knowledge. Some of you will again sit beside your schoolmates whom you have not seen all summer. You missed them during those brief summer months and now you will want to tell them all about the fond experiences you had. Together as a class, you will have a new season of learning new facts that you never knew before. There is a certain air of lively friendship that will permeate the many moments you will share together. These times together are precious for you and by all means you should enjoy them. Those moments will be filled with happiness and laughter; and too, sorrow and maybe even grief. All of these moments will reveal a beautiful fact about our lives. That fact is that we sincerely show concern for one another. I do not mean the kind of false concern people often have for one another. You see that too often in the world today. I will briefly write about that later on in this article. But for now, I mean the true concern for the other person that comes from the regenerated heart and only the children of God possess. A concern that puts self aside and seeks to devote the time solely to the interests of the other person.

True concern for one another is not something that is unfamiliar to us as young people. We have many examples to point to which will help us to understand. You older ones in the family unit can recount the many times you saw your father or mother spending what seemed like an unending amount of time, caring for the needs of your younger brother and sister. Of course, you realize a baby’s diapers have to be changed very frequent­ly. Baby has to be fed, bathed, clothed and rocked to sleep. You younger ones know that your older brother and sister have to learn many tasks that require your parents’ utmost interest. There always seems to be the need for repetition of instructions no matter how old they may be. You see, our parents have a difficult calling. Their concern for us means that they spend almost all their time caring for us.

We can look to the example of our ministers, elders and deacons. Their calling is also difficult for they must care for our spiritual and physical wellbeing. That means the awesome task of the preaching of God’s Word, the administra­tion of the sacraments, admonitions, and church discipline. They are servants who carefully instruct us in the Heidelberg Catechism. The Confession of Faith and the Canons, writings of our church fathers from our rich reformed heritage. They visit us when we are sick in the hospital. They also give to our parents willingly for Christ’s sake when we are in need of money in order to live or be sent to one of our schools.

Another example is our teachers. Teaching requires that they too have a concern for us, not only to teach us certain course material as for example History, Literature and Science; but also to spend time of sincere interest with each one of us as an individual with certain needs. You will not all grow up to work in the same profession. Some of you may learn to be doctors, or lawyers, or artists, or construction workers, or even politicians. Therefore, your needs will vary with the individual, each requiring a special con­cern. There will be many fond memories you will be able to recount where your teachers were as truly interested in you as your own parents. Those are truly precious moments to be cherished.

We even have those examples that we can point to in our own classmates. Take for instance the times when you see another helping one with a difficult math problem, or trying to understand the meaning of poetry written in Old English, or trying to translate a foreign language into English. How about the concern we would have for each other when we were injured, maybe because we accidently crashed our bicycles together.

True concern is to be highly valued today. All too often you experience that false concern that seems to be like a pat on the back, a sort of good-buddy concern. Outwardly there appears to be friendship and interest, but inside the thoughts run rampant with evil intentions. You have but to call to mind the picture in scripture of a wolf in sheep’s clothing to know what I mean. That the ungodly world’s concern for us is exactly like that is most certain.

The picture of Baptism shows to us the concern our ministers and parents have for the covenant seed. The mother stands to the side of her husband, who is holding the baby, so that the minister, who has just immersed his fingers in the water, may carefully let the water fall from his fingers onto the head of the infant. That is a beautiful picture of God’s Covenant of Grace with His people and their seed. Jesus Christ the Good Shepherd always has concern for the sheep of His flock. Not a concern that is characterized by anxiety and worry, for that comes about through the weakness of our sinful flesh, but that concern or continual caring over us for our spiritual wellbeing, that has all the wonderful power of Grace as its source.

May we see our calling as being truly those who have that sincere concern and show it for the good of our neighbor, but also and finally that God may be glorified.