Teachers without Degrees
I’ve just returned from teaching my Thursday evening classes here in
It’s the voices of these individuals that rebuke me. They don’t do so intentionally. They’re not even aware of the effect they’re having on me, but the effect is there nonetheless. As I’m preaching through the story of Joseph’s life this evening, I invited the students to ponder with me that the differential between Joseph receiving a vision from God (that he would be some sort of ruler) and the fulfillment of that vision, was nearly 30 years! In the meantime, instead of going to seminary, he was sold into slavery, framed for rape, and forgotten in the bowels of a prison due to the self-centeredness of a man he’d helped.
Yet through all this, he never forgot God, who was His ever present companion, His shelter, His source of strength, and the One for whom Joseph would continue to wait faithfully – until God’s purposes would be accomplished for him. Joseph's is a different kind of education than the one available for $20000 a year in the USA.
Yet the story of suffering, patient endurance, and overcoming trials isn’t just Joseph’s story. It’s the story in
When I return to my room and read the most popular 'ministry' magazine available to pastors in America, I get this sickening feeling that we really don't get it. And so I pray for us - that we'll have the humility to learn from those who do get it, because as in the days of Jesus, the ones who 'get it' today are, to our western way of thinking, the unlikely ones. We're in grave danger of become entirely self-referential and overlooking those who have the most to say to us. Lacking the privileges of wealth, democracy, public health, or higher education, church leaders of the developing world are ministering Christ with a power rarely seen among we who are 'better off'. This, of course, causes me to wonder what 'better off' really means.