For a few years, my classroom was around the corner from Victor. He taught math. Or maybe it is more accurate to say that his job title was “Math Teacher.” He was an excellent instructor of mathematics and students learned a lot. They progressed and developed as logical, math-literate learners. However, Victor did much more than simply teach math. He consistently used his expertise as a math educator to teach Christ. He also made a significant impact on teachers—his peers.
A few days ago, Victor passed away. And in the time since, I have been reflecting on the impact that he made on me. Here are a few things that stood out:
- I knew that he was reading the Bible and thinking about it because he always had ideas to discuss that were generated out of his reading. Hearing God speak through the Bible was a core part of his life and that was obvious.
- I knew that he loved God because in every theological discussion (and there were many), he always came to a point where he would praise God. We might be discussing a challenging passage and he’d say something like, “‘Wow! God is working in ways that are beyond us! His ways are higher than ours.”
- I knew that he prayed (and that he prayed for me) because he would say things like, “When I was praying for your wife and kids yesterday, God brought this verse to my mind…” It was obvious that he was interceding for my family and as he prayed, he also came back to encourage me.
- I knew that he lived his life on the mission of the Great Commission because he was regularly sharing the gospel with his students. And he was backing up his words by sacrificially giving his time and energy to them.
The list could go on and on, but I am going to cut it short there to change gears. Did you notice that I started each of the bullet-points above with “I knew…”? How did I know? Because there was evidence in his life. You see, Victor didn’t have to tell me that he was reading the Bible, worshiping, praying, or sharing the gospel because his life made those things clear. It was obvious. And that is an amazing example. I want to be like that. I want to be like him. And I think that all teachers would be wise to follow his example. Why? Because the biblical integration of our course content will be much more credible if it is built on a biblically integrated life.
Soon after meeting Victor, he gave me a devotional that he had crafted (see the picture above). It was aptly titled Prepare for Eternal Life. And it was a Scripture saturated acrostic based on the word “prepare.” He is with Jesus now and I can think of nothing better than to share his acrostic with you.
P- Pray to God Every Day
R- Read the Bible Every Day
E- Encourage Someone Every Day
P- Praise God Every Day
A- Awareness of the Big Picture
R- Remember Your Influence Every Day
E- Examine Yourself Every Day
In 1 Corinthians 11:1, Paul called the church in Corinth to follow his example as he followed Christ. We need people to show us how to live out our faith. I think that Victor was prepared to meet Christ because, in view of God’s mercy, he had been preparing. And he has given us an example fo follow. To finish this post, I want to add to my list above and share one more thing that was clear in Victor’s life:
- I knew that Victor was ready to lay down his life because he had already laid it down. I talked to him on the phone soon after his diagnosis and asked how I could pray for him. He listed a few things (important things), but then said something like, “More than anything else, pray that my journey will show people the glory of God and point every person involved toward Christ.” Even in the face of a grim diagnosis, his theme wasn’t the pain or the disease. His main point wasn’t that God would heal him here in this life. It was that God would use him to help others prepare for eternal life.
So how does this relate to integration? Your work is to help students prepare for eternal life. Victor was an academic disciple-maker who, through the means of biblical integration, aimed to help students live lives of informed godliness; he was preparing them for eternal life. Live like him. Teach like him. And I am confident that you will hear the Lord say, “Well done, faithful servant.” When attendance was taken a few days ago, and Victor said, “Present,” I am sure those words echoed through the halls of heaven.