For the past few weeks, I’ve been sharing about a recent visit I had to a 5th Grade classroom, and the posters I noticed that the teacher had used to decorate her class. One poster was titled: “The Questions You Should Be Answering.”
And the questions were these:
- What are you doing?
- What are you supposed to be doing?
- What’s the difference between those two things?
- What are you going to do about that reality?
Last week, I talked about the third question, and the difference between what I’m doing, and what I’m supposed to be doing? And today … in the midst of the chaos and uncertainty in our world, what will I do about … what I can do?
The movie Catch Me If You Can describes a true story of an amazing con artist. A famous con artist named Frank Abagnale, a brilliant young man who spent his life either pretending, or evading. He pretended to be an airline pilot, and for a while, he got away with it. He pretended to be a pediatrician, a physician, if you can imagine, and again for a while, he got away with it. He even conned people into believing he was a district attorney, and for a while, he got away with it. Every time he was discovered, he ran, avoiding arrest for many months, before finally being arrested.
While on the run, at one point, Abagnale posed as a professor of sociology at a major university. He taught a sociology class for an entire semester, and no one suspected he knew very little about sociology. When the authorities finally did catch up to him, they ask him: “How in the world did you teach that class? You don’t know anything about sociology.”
His reply was simple: “All I had to do was read one chapter ahead of the students.”
Four questions on a 5th grade classroom wall have challenged me. What am I doing? What am I supposed to be doing? What’s the difference between those two things, and what do I intend to do about it? Wherever I am in my journey, in the midst of the fear and anxiety my world is experiencing, if I look around, I will notice someone who is one chapter in life behind me. No need to pretend. I have a great opportunity to be the salt and light in my world that Jesus described in the Sermon on the Mount, in Matthew chapter 5. I’ve learned some things about God; I’ve seen some things about life. How about you? And what we’ve actually seen, and experienced? What we know? We can share those things with folks who aren’t as far along in reading chapters from God’s Book as we are. No matter where I am in life, for a certainty I’m one chapter ahead of someone else nearby.