Be Thankful for This Burden
Brian D. Dykstra, Teacher at Hope PR Christian School in Walker, MI
Psalm 55:22: “Cast thy burden upon the Lord, and he shall sustain thee: he shall never suffer the righteous to be moved.”
Signs that the school year is still young are all around us. As yet archeologists would find no layers of sediment at the bottoms of junior high lockers through which to sift for artefacts. The cleaned carpets have not yet been redecorated by young impressionist artists with their favourite media of spilled chocolate milk and orange drink. The OD-AB remains securely sealed in classroom closets. Not only do pencils and crayons still have points but most students believe their assignments do also.
Soon, however, lockers will become an archeological dig, spilled liquids will decorate carpets, stomachs will become upset, and pencil points and interest will become dull. We know January is coming. It’s the month when spring vacation is distant and exams have drained a touch of vigour from some students. “Blowing and drifting snow” becomes an eagerly anticipated phrase.
May follows. Students are convinced that homework takes away all opportunity for fun. Parents will wonder whether it really is possible that there is another Bible test for which they must help their student to prepare. Another cheque needs to be written. Another school function requires our attendance when we would rather relax at home. Teachers will look at another pile of papers to be graded, certain they are some strange strain of bacteria which multiplies before their very eyes. The amount of work related to school can become a burden.
This is when we must be careful. Recognizing there are burdens in life is not sinful but how we respond to them can be. What enemy might be near, tuned to the thoughts of our hearts and ready to sow seeds of discontent? Would Satan jump at the opportunity to cause us to envy those who have a few hundred dollars of additional “discretionary income” available each month because they have no baptismal vows to honour or do not see covenant instruction as part of the keeping of that vow?
Our first Song of the Week for this school year comes from Psalm 55 which instructs us about burdens. I had quite a surprise when I started to read about this verse. John Calvin makes the point that the word “burden” would better have been translated as “gift.” He would translate verse twenty-two this way: “Cast thy giving upon Jehovah, and he shall feed thee: he shall not suffer the righteous always to stagger.” Sure enough, my concordance supports Calvin by saying that the word translated as “burden” comes from a Hebrew word which means “to give.”
Calvin instructs us to view this giving or gift “as meaning all the benefits which we desire God to give us.” We are to rely upon His providence to provide us those gifts for which we ask. “There is no other method of relieving our anxious souls, but by reposing ourselves upon the providence of the Lord.”
Do we view our Christian schools as gifts from God to supply our need for covenant instruction? I am thankful that the impression I have from those involved with our schools is that we do. Yet it is possible to take our covenant schools for granted, especially now that we have had them for many years. They do require sacrifices of time, effort, money and frequent prayers.
Schools can seem to be a burden. Yet they are gifts given to us by God in His providential care. We are to be diligent in our efforts in supporting our schools in the coming year, yet trusting our Lord not to suffer us to be moved. He will give us His gifts. Is the cost of our schools a burden which is too high? What would it cost to be without them?