Last week, one of our first-year teachers asked to give the lesson at one of our Friday chapels. While Austin Dupper has an impressive resume -- a two-year member of the Auburn Football team who earned a degree in engineering and worked for a few years for a premier construction firm before joining our staff this year to teach high school math -- his highest qualification is a deep faith in God and a strong desire to serve His children. Despite his nerves, Mr. Dupper gave a powerful message last week on what it means to be a person of prayer.
At the end of his talk, I asked for a few students to raise their hand and share their key takeaways from the message they had just heard. Because this is something we do often in our classes as a part of our classical pedagogy of narration and discussion, I was not surprised that a few of our high school students raised their hands and gave insightful responses. While there were a few hands nervously raised on the elementary side of the pews, one hand stood out: an eager fourth grader had shot his hand violently in the air for a chance to share.
I called on this excited student, expecting he would freeze from the attention of the entire school and say something along the lines of, "I forgot what I was going to say." Instead, with a serious look on his face, speaking loudly and with conviction, even using firm hand gestures to highlight his point, he said, "It is just disrespectful for us to be ashamed to talk to God when he has sent His son to die on the cross for our sins. That is what I think."
This was not the first time I found myself speechless at profound insights shared by one of our students. Sometimes, like this time, the impact is magnified by my knowledge of the student’s “personal story” and how they arrived at Cornerstone. As I pondered what this young man had just shared, It was hard for me to resist the tears I felt welling up as I was reminded of the powerful work God is doing in him and countless others through Cornerstone.
What a better world it would be if we all heeded this young man’s advice: don’t be disrespectful -- talk to the God who gave you the greatest gift ever given!