Every class has a clown, that guy or gal who makes all the kids laugh and gets in the most trouble with their teacher. In my seventh-grade class that person was Kenny, and he sure could make us laugh! He struggled in his classes and had been held back a year. Not a day of boring math classes or diagramming sentences went by that Kenny didn’t cause some type of trouble. More than once, I noticed even the teacher chuckling at his antics. One day, Kenny went too far, attempting to close and lock our classroom window after our teacher stepped out onto the roof to check out some plants that we were growing for science class. A suspension soon followed, and a reputation for being the worst class in school, mostly because of Kenny. We had a little too much fun at his expense.
There were reasons for Kenny’s behavior and struggles. He had lost his mother at a young age and was from a large family. By age thirteen, he was left to his own devices much of the time. Perhaps bringing a laugh to his classmates brought a feeling of belonging to his soul, and his rebellious ways felt like being in control when much of his life was a little out of control. We were kids too, so we saw Kenny like other kids do, as a class clown and sometimes troublemaker–someone to laugh with, but not follow.
Serious learning is an important part of life. Most of us know someone who never seems to learn from mistakes or put forth the effort it takes to do their best. The Bible talks a lot about serious learning, about gaining wisdom that can go so far as to save your life. For those of us who struggled for whatever reason during our schooling years, understanding God’s Word as an adult can be a big challenge. What we sometimes forget is that, as believers in Christ, we all start at the same point. Our prayer needs to be that we will choose to be among the wise from that point forward:
The wise will hear and increase their learning, And the person of understanding will acquire wise counsel and the skill [to steer his course wisely and lead others to the truth], Proverbs 1:5
We all come to Christ from different places in life, like a classroom of middle schoolers coming together to learn and mature with the help of the teacher. And God is patient, teaching each of us as only He has the understanding to do. All that is asked of us is to learn God’s ways, to grow in our faith in Him, and to help others along as they come after us.
I don’t know where my classmate of so long ago ended up in life. I hope he found success and I hope he found Christ. I know God was waiting there to help Kenny just like He is waiting there to help each of us.