So then, brothers, stand firm and hold to the traditions that you were taught by us, either by our spoken word or by our letter. 2 Thessalonians 2:15
Success is a sweet thing.
And success is what Beverly Hall, previous superintendent of the Atlanta School system, brought to her district. It was a beautiful thing to see, as year after year the scores on the children's tests went up.
But then success started to go sour.
• It was found that a large percentage of teachers and principals had, for almost a decade, been erasing and correcting the mistakes students had made on their test score sheets.
• It was found that superintendents came down hard on those who were ready to blow the whistle on those who were cheating.
• It was found that Superintendent Hall and her aides ignored, hid, threw out and altered complaints about what was happening.
All of this has caused a considerable amount of disillusionment. Parents, students and taxpayers are saddened. Some are upset because scores they thought were spectacular are now, at best, unreliable.
But most are bothered that those who were supposed to be setting a moral example for the young -- who were put into a position of authority so they could teach values to their charges -- have failed to do so.
In many ways it is not unlike the way a congregation feels when they find their pastor has been skimming something from the top of the Sunday offering.
Thankfully, such teachers, superintendents and pastors are a very small percentage when they are compared to the large numbers of those who have proven themselves faithful.
Because there are so many church leaders who have shown themselves committed to the Christ, St. Paul was able to urge people to remember what they were taught by their leaders.
And what should we have been taught? Every faithful preacher, pastor and priest ought to be pointing to the Bethlehem cradle, Calvary's cross and the borrowed, empty tomb. Every loyal leader of the Lord ought to clearly say, "Here is where your sins are forgiven; here is where salvation begins and ends."
And anyone who says differently is a scoundrel.
THE PRAYER: Dear Lord, for those teachers and preachers and leaders who are faithful to the work that has been entrusted to them, I am grateful. But I also pray for those who have wandered. May they see the hurt they are causing to themselves and others. Then, having seen, may they come to the Savior for forgiveness and hope. This I pray in my Savior's Name. Amen.
In Christ I remain His servant and yours,
Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker emeritus of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries