“Come and go with me to my Fathers house…It's a big, big house with lots and lots a room …”
“Hey, Ms. Lissa, they’re playing your song!” Allyson piped up from the back of the church van.
“My song?” I asked.
“Yeah,” she continued, “you’re always telling us God is building us a big house!”
“Hey, that’s right!” piped in Melanie. “It could be our class song.”
“Cool,” said Chad, “We’ll be the only class with a song.”
“Cuz we’re so rad,” John ragged.
Then the van load of wired thirteen year-olds belted out the chorus of Audio Adrenaline’s “Big House.”
And me being me…I did a radio sound check.
You’ve never performed a sound check? Well let me tell you how it works…
Take an 18-passenger van filled with teenagers. Tune the radio to their favorite station to the latest hit. Then when they reach that soulful moment of oneness with the audio waves…turn off the radio!
Yep, you guessed it. Instantaneous silence! They know the lyrics backwards, forwards, upside down and probably in Chinese…but turn off the radio and they go mute.
Hey, the youth can’t have all the fun on road trips!
For the rest of the year, whenever “Big House” blasted through a speaker, someone yelled, “It’s Ms. Lissa’s song!”
For three years I had worked as the 13 year olds’ Sunday school teacher. It was one of my greatest joys.
One Sunday we had gotten into a discussion about salvation by grace versus works. Two of my more skeptical students challenged everything we discussed. It was fine with me. I figured confronting the issues in the safety of church was a great way to prepare my class for the brutality of the real world. I believe in playing offense and scoring…not just defense. If all you do is try to prevent the other team from scoring, at some point they will and you lose!
That morning I got on offense.
“Ms. Lissa, if we’re saved by grace and we can’t earn our salvation, what’s the point of being good?” quizzed Thomas.
(I know, the kid couldn’t help it…his parents really did name him Thomas).
“Great question…any answers?”
The class chatted up the typical Sunday school answers along with a few moronic ones for purposes of disruption. None of it satisfied Thomas’ curiosity. He is not the guy that looks for justification of deviant behavior. He is the passionate Christian who struggles with his faith. I wanted him to leave confident.
Using the football analogy as most of them were on the local teams, as players, cheerleaders or band members – I explained the difference between just being on the team and actually being “on” the team. The ones who just showed up and did the minimal were bench-warmers. The ones who gave it their all usually played. This seemed to clarify it for them that day.
About six weeks later the junior high team won their division. We celebrated the event in class. It was an interesting day. The way our school district is divided put half of the class on the winning campus and the other half on the losing campus.
What a golden teaching opportunity!
As they settled down to do some serious munching, I approached the subject of works. I explained that Pitcher was the winning school. All of the students would be considered winners because they all attended the winning school, but only the players actually got trophies.
“It’s just like with Jesus.” I began. “When you accept Him as Lord and Savior, your eternal destination is guaranteed, you’re on the team, but the quality of your rewards will be determined on your participation now.”
“Whatcha mean?” asked Allyson.
“Well, if every time you submit to Jesus’ will for your life, honor His word and obey Him,” I continued, “He will put another golden brick on your mansion. Some of you will have really nice big houses, others cabins, some lean-tos and some of you might be homeless.”
If you could have seen their faces!
“But,” I reminded them, “living on golden streets is definitely better than the alternative!”
“I get it!” announced Thomas.
My reward that year for revealing Christ more clearly to some of His kids …
“Come and go with me to my Fathers house…”
© 9/28/04 Lissa M. Lee