by Marlene Evans
I HAVE WONDERED why Sunday school teachers, bus workers and Bible club leaders quit their ministries to go into activities which are eventually so much less rewarding and fulfilling.Perhaps the key to the answer is in the word eventually.We just can’t seem to wait for the end result—the last chapter—or we cannot see things in light of the “long haul.”
The other day I was asked, “What about all the people you help who don’t turn out right?”
I answered the question with, “Are they dead yet?” When the girl shook her head no, I questioned, “How do you know they aren’t going to turn out right?”
Unless they are dead, you don’t know.You can’t really know whether or not you’ve helped them even in their dying hours.Our problem isn’t that there aren’t enough good results from seed we’ve sown but immaturity which causes us to seek immediate solutions and gratification and keeps us from waiting for the end results.
True, there is little or no immediate glamour or recognition in helping a class of wiggly second graders.Sometimes there’s not even much excitement or sense of achievement; and certainly there’s no thought of advancement or money.We all need to know that we are achievers, that we’re admired, loved, and honored.But don’t expect these needs to be met by people.God alone can see to it that you enjoy these things on your own if you will trust Him.
Learn to stay by Sunday school classes, jobs and relationships you have with friends and relatives.Look for gold glittering where you have not seen it before.
“They Just Ain’t Seen No GOLD Yet!”
That’s right! When you quit, it’s because “you just ain’t seen no gold yet!”
Remember the stories of the gold rush? People waited for as long as it took to find gold.Just about the time they had decided to give up and go home, they would see a little streak of yellow, so they would begin again with renewed vigor.
Sometimes it’s difficult to see real gold in those bus kids; but if you dwell on them long enough, you’ll see gold glittering there.As long as you
can keep your eyes on that little glitter, you stand a good chance of being there when the gold comes in.
I can promise you that it does come in.In some cases you wait for years, but you also find cases where you can’t believe the quality of the gold when it does begin to come through.Even people-developers who dream dreams other people cannot fathom sometimes realize there are those who go far beyond their fondest dreams.
Don’t give up! You think you’re no good? You say no one lets you know they’ve reaped from what you’ve sown? Evaluation of a person who works with people, whether it be in Sunday school, church bus work, or in your own home, takes years—just as it takes years to evaluate a person in leadership.
I know how you feel.Sometimes the one who seems to be the weakest teacher in school or Sunday school seems to be the most popular.I remember the teacher of young people who spent most of every Sunday school hour letting the pupils talk about what they did the night before, with no applications given.I recall how she told them Sunday after Sunday that she was not prepared, for she had had a busy week.Yet she was popular, for she would listen to the young people as they sat and talked and laughed about worldly activities in which they were engaged.
Yes, feel sorry for that kind of teacher, but don’t be jealous of her popularity.Yes, be concerned for her and the young people, but go on doing right and making right as attractive as possible.The last chapter isn’t in yet!
Because children, youths and childish people of all ages usually do not have or understand eternal values, you may not be popular if you teach with eternity’s values in view.But as these same children or childish adults gain spiritual insight, you will become more popular with them.By that time, popularity will not even matter as you begin to grow into the maturity of teaching for the “long-haul” growth.
You Should See GOLD Where No One Else Suspects It!
Some people see gold in only certain types of people.They say, “That’s my type of person.” Well, if that’s your only type, those will be the only ones you can teach or touch.You’d better start looking for gold where you or others might least expect it.
Some folks never have a ghost of an idea that there is any gold.They make statements like, “Everybody’s out for himself.” Maybe to a point this statement is true.However, considering the depravity of man, wouldn’t it be fun to be in on the developing of people? You could have a part in the little bit they are doing right when they do begin to have periods of living Christ-like lives.Still others believe there’s gold, but they don’t know how to go about digging for it.They can’t see it before it’s there in all its glory.That means they can’t be people developers.
We Looked for GOLD and Found It!
In the orthopedically handicapped class I taught while living in Chattanooga, Tennessee, was a little seven-year-old girl with cerebral palsy.She had transferred from a pre-school where the children had called the teachers by their last names, so she called me “Ebans.” She could not pronounce the “v” in “Evans.” When she wanted me, she’d call “Ebans,” and I would say, “Mrs.Evans, Janie.” This conversation went on all year, but I might as well have “joined ’em” because I sure couldn’t “lick ’em!”
Janie often forgot her words when I had her read, and she would say, “It not matter, Ebans.” That phrase became a regular part of my talking to myself.Perhaps Janie shouldn’t have taken that attitude about reading.However, maybe she really understood, “It not matter, Ebans” because she died a year later.I saw some gold in Janie, and I learned from her as I valued her life.Even now when I get all harried, I say, “It not matter, Ebans.” And it usually doesn’t!
When my husband was a pastor in Hendersonville, North Carolina, twins Billy and Benny McCrary were teenagers in our church.One weighed a little over 300 pounds, and the other weighed a little under that! They came to youth meetings at our house and saw my husband’s Matthew Henry Commentaries; they began to study them and would present programs reading from them.
Later, Billy and Benny were named the world’s largest twins and were written up in the Guinness Book of World Records.Billy and Benny were on the Merv Griffin Show, and they were featured in Life magazine.They went into the rodeo business with some kind of an act.
As I have read about them, I have often wondered if they remembered anything we taught them.We saw gold in those twins.I wonder if we were wrong.One died at an early age, and the other now weighs over 700 pounds.Newspaper articles say he won’t live very long.I don’t know what will happen to him, but I refuse to believe we were wrong.The last chapter is not in yet!
In that same church was a girl named Kathy, who would often call me after school to tell me all that went on in the halls of Hendersonville High School that day.She would question me and use me as a sounding board when she’d say, “I don’t see anything wrong with dancing.” Some took this seeming brazenness to be that of a girl who would never amount to anything.I believe she was just making the statements in order to get reassurance and to find answers to the questions her unsaved friends were asking.The last chapter has not yet been written about Kathy.As of this writing, she has worked with and helped dozens of teenagers in the Hendersonville, North Carolina, area and is married to a fine Christian preacher.
Why Do I See GOLD Glittering?
I see gold glittering in young people because Mom and Dad saw gold glittering in me.In fact, I once told my dad it was all his fault when I became very disheartened with a number of people with whom I was working.It seemed as though their glitter was never going to shine brightly and that they were going to take me down with them.I said, “Dad, if you hadn’t put up with me and some of my antics, I wouldn’t be feeling as though I had to put up with everybody else.”
One time my dad told me I could go to the drugstore and charge on his bill if I really had to have something while Mom was in the hospital.I took this as a license to take all my friends (and I seemed to gain many at that time) by the drugstore several times a day in order to purchase “necessary” items such as ice cream cones, candy bars and gum.Dad was very shocked when he received his monthly statement so littered by my “emergency” items.As well as I can remember, he didn’t threaten me with reform school (even though there was a girls’ reformatory close by in Geneva, Nebraska).Neither did he stand and wring his hands over the prospect of my ending up in the state penitentiary which was close by in Lincoln.Instead, he did something very practical.He insisted I start my working career at the ripe old age of ten.He and Mom looked over the Grit newspaper advertisements and found I could order general cards to peddle door to door.
As I sold sympathy, get well and baby cards, I made my weekly payment for my “emergency” bill at the drugstore.What could have been a very bad scene ended up helping me to face things as I learned how to handle wrong done in my life.
Because my parents saw gold in me, I learned that God saw gold in me.In fact, He made any that is in me.“Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above….” (James 1:17) God knows where it is.He understands and is patient when the little bit of gold doesn’t show.Are you?