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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Fulfillment (04/06/06)

TITLE: Sunday School Smarts
By Brenda Kern


"What kinds of things do we need to feel fulfilled in life? Throw out some quick answers."

The Sunday School teacher turned to the whiteboard and jotted down the rapid-fire answers coming from his 'married-with-children'-type class:

Marriage, of course! (big laughs all around)
Prosperity, or at least financial stability
Freedom, politically
Career success
A sound mind
Feeling productive
A home
Possessions--not excessive, but the necessary things
Children (from Fran, who had just had triplets--more giggles and grins)
Maybe an education?
Long life
A community

"Okay, folks, that's enough for now. Would you agree that a person who could put a check mark by every single one of these items would probably feel fulfilled in this life?"

The class members nodded, and murmured in agreement--yes, anyone would. It didn't look like a bad life to have had--not bad at all.

"Now, give me some names of famous people, dead or alive, who could claim to have achieved each thing on this board."

Person after person was suggested, but many of them died young, or were unhealthy, or poor. In other words, many successful people did not lead fulfilling lives, according to the class on that particular Sunday morning.

Everybody seemed to be awake and listening, and sharply tuned in. The teacher 'went in for the kill.' Putting down the smelly marker, he asked his next question: "When Jesus ascended, had He led an 'abundant life'? Would He have indicated that He 'felt fulfilled' by His time here?"

The immediate reaction was a resounding "Yes!"

And heads turned to review their very own list from the board.

Jesus hadn't 'scored very well,' had He?

The teacher wisely let the silence linger a moment, while new thoughts slithered from mind to mind around the room.

"He gave many descriptions of Himself, and many explanations as to why He was here. One of my favorites, the verse we're studying this morning--though you didn't know it yet, clever as I am!--is John 10:10. Here it is, from the NIV: The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.

"So, according to our list here, He came and had a pretty unfulfilling life, so that we could have life to the full. Yet, you felt that He probably would have felt fulfilled. Why? What gives, my friends?"

Silence. Throat clearing. Folding chairs shifting slightly on the tiled floor.

Finally, from the back: "Obedience. He did what God asked of Him, though it meant giving His life. He fulfilled His mission in life."

The teacher bowed to the statement, waved his hand with a flourish, and said, "Thank you, sir."

"Class dismissed."

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This article has been read 1376 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Helen Murray04/13/06
Great turnaround at the end. I'm a teacher too, so I like this twist! Shock value works well, and this is positive, not negative.
Ann Darcy04/13/06
Thank you for this story! Great message!
Crista Darr04/13/06
Obedience! Yes, excellent! Great lesson.
Pat Guy 04/14/06
Pondering thoughts - insightful devotional. Very 'smartly' done!
Amy Michelle Wiley 04/14/06
This is great. Good job!
Shelley Snyder04/14/06
You did a great job with this!
Suzanne R04/15/06
The smelly marker - LOL. YOu've involved all the senses all right. And the message was strongly brought out - well done!
Lynda Schultz 04/15/06
Well done. Message received!
Marilyn Schnepp 04/15/06
From the excellent Title to the final 'Class dismissed' - a GREAT thought-provoking gem. Creative, interesting, enlightening, spellbinding and definitely a Sermonette without the preaching!

An A+ on this one! Super Job.
Linda Germain 04/15/06
"Amen" to all of the above.
Jan Ackerson 04/17/06
Great message, presented well. I'm glad you chose a narrative, rather than a devotional. It made the lesson more real, and the "gulp" factor was certainly there!
Beth Muehlhausen04/18/06
Loved peeking in on this classroom - and the discoveries there!!! Very effective!
Garnet Miller 04/18/06
We may not achieve everything on the list, but if we accomplish God's will for our lives we will be blessed. For "what profiteth a man to gain the whole world and lose his soul?" Great story.