Sage rushed into the classroom and found a place to sit near the front. He didn’t want to be late for his first class at Seminary. For as long as he could remember, his life’s ambition was to be a preacher or a police officer. At the age of nine, it was discovered that he was legally blind in his left eye. That pretty much eliminated the career in law enforcement.
The teacher was sitting at his desk with two, small blocks of wood in front of him and some carving tools. Some of the other students whispered among themselves speculating about how he would use them. When the bell rang, the teacher quietly closed the door and walked back to his desk.
“Good morning,” he said as he picked up a piece of wood and a carving knife. I hope you don’t mind if I do a little work on the side while I talk. “I thought we would start with some of the basics.”
He talked about repentance, sowing and reaping, and the fruits of the spirit. As he talked, he worked with the wood, stopping only to look each one of the students directly in the eye as he made a particular point on judgment or pride. When he looked at Sage, he was making a point about healing. Self-consciously he adjusted his glasses.
The block of wood started taking shape as everyone tried to figure out what he was creating. The teacher continued to work as he talked throughout the hour. He finished one piece and then started on another. The students were trying to see the finished piece behind the teacher’s back. Sage felt a little bad for the teacher because no one seemed to be listening to what he was saying.
On the other hand, Sage could not help but listen intently to what the teacher was saying. He hardly noticed what he was carving. As the teacher talked, he used little parables just as Jesus did in the Gospels. Sage wanted to make sure he didn’t miss a single detail. He felt sure they would be tested on them later; however, he also felt as though the very words being spoken were supposed to be life-changing for them.
The class time seemed to have just flown by when the teacher set his creations down on the desk behind a stack of books and told the class, “He that hat ears to hear, let him hear.”
Sage thought was very clever of him to use the word of Jesus’ as he was finishing up.
The teacher added, “He that hath eyes to see, let him see.”
One of the students spoke up, “Uh, sir, you didn’t give us your name.”
The teacher looked directly at the student and said, “Who do you say that I am?”
Just then the bell rang signaling the end of the class period. The students just laughed, picked up their books, and ran out of the classroom to make it to their next class.
Sage only took two or three steps into the hallway when he stopped. He felt compelled to go back into the classroom to press the teacher for his name. His class roster only read “Staff.”
Astonished, he looked around and found no one in the room. “I know he couldn’t have gotten by me. I only took a few steps outside the door,” Sage said pensively to himself.
Perplexed, he started to turn and leave the room when he noticed two objects sitting on the desk. They were the wooden pieces the teacher carved during class.
“Why did he leave these?” he thought and walked to the desk to take a closer look.
Sage picked up the two wood carvings. As he touched them, instant recognition of the teacher’s identity flashed into his mind. He thought, “It can’t be; or can it?”
Standing in that spot, a feeling of intense love washed over him and sight returned to his left eye as he held the tiny wooden manger in one hand and the tiny wooden cross in the other.
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