The heart of Christian Education

November 20, 2020

Last Saturday, if the Parent Teacher Interviews were taking place at school, I was to give a talk on “The heart of Christian Education.” Christian education is absolutely dear to my heart because I believe it is the only authentic education a child can receive. It is an education that does not deny or ignore God, instead, Christian education firmly places God at the center, the foundation, indeed over every aspect of teaching and learning. It an education that proclaims the Lordship of Christ over every part of the school, including student and teacher (Colossians 1: 17-18).

Today, however, I want to talk a little about my heart, and then yours! Several weeks ago I suffered a mild heart attack but put it down to tiredness, work, diet, and lack of exercise. Yes, it was all of those things but I thought I could just soldier on and keep going with the same routine. Unable to shake off the fatigue, shortness of breath I thought it would be wise for a medical check-up. Three days later I found myself having two stents inserted to clear up a severely blocked left anterior descending artery, which I am told is quite an important one! Hoping that was the end of the drama, I then had an allergic reaction to the most important medication! After coming out in a head to toe itchy rash, the new medication seems to be much more acceptable to my body!

From the bottom of my heart, which now beats well, I would like to give my thanks to the many parents, staff and students for your messages of encouragement and prayers. That was such a blessing for me and my wife Linda. As it says in Proverbs 12:25 “Anxiety weighs down a heart, but a kind word cheers it up.” My heart has certainly been cheered, and for that I give God the praise and you my thanks.

But, it would be remiss of me to merely speak of my ‘healed physical heart’ without addressing the type of healing the heart really needs, and that is spiritual healing. Just as cholesterol blocks the heart, so too does sin block the heart from beating as effectively as God intended it too. When God created us, he did so to have a loving relationship with us. But sin, our rebellion against God got in the way and has blocked this relationship. Just as we cannot operate on ourselves, we cannot by our own strength remove that sin either.

I am very grateful to the cardiologist who removed the blockage in my artery, but I am indebted to the Great Physician, Jesus Christ, who alone has healed my ‘spiritual heart.’ As Jesus said in Mark 2: ‘Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. I came not to call the righteous, but sinners’ (v. 17).

An essential part of an authentic Christian Education for your children is for them to see their need for healing. We teach the students about the importance of ‘healing’ the world by caring for the environment, and we also teach them about the importance of a right heart relationship with God, one that has been healed.

All of us, especially me now, need to care for our physical hearts. We need to be disciplined to eat the right food, exercise well, sleep and rest. The same goes for our spiritual hearts. We need to feed it God’s Word, to pray for forgiveness (healing) of our sins and spiritually exercise the heart through prayer. I could have pretended that I did not have a problem with my physical heart, but the blockage would have still remained. Ignoring it won’t have made it go away. And the same goes for our sin. Pretending it isn’t there, or just ignoring it, will not make it go away.

Once we see the need for the Great Physician, Jesus Christ, to remove our sin, he will do so, with his own blood, to fully cleanse our heart of sin, and have it beating as God intended it to be! It is my prayer that you ask the Great Physician for spiritual healing, that your sins against God would be removed. Then you have a heart that will beat for the glory of God for all eternity!

Blessings in Christ

Richard Vanderpyl
Head of School