We have reached the end of another year! As we reflect on the months that have passed so quickly, we see the good hand of our God in the achievements, blessings, challenges, high times, and low times at BJA. To God be the glory!
We are grateful for much—the relationships fostered, the decisions made, the lessons learned, the opportunities embraced, the goals reached, and even the losses by which we have grown. In many ways, these blessings answer the question that I have been pondering over the last few days—why do we educate?
Christian education extends far beyond the filling of minds with facts—beyond the classroom to the hallways and onto the ball fields. It is the equipping of students with knowledge, wisdom, and understanding so that they can effectively shine as lights of God’s goodness in every field to which God leads them. Along this line of thinking, let me provide an example and a commendation.
Two weeks ago, I had the privilege of accompanying six middle school boys and their parents to Louisville, KY, where the boys competed at the VEX Robotics World Championship. Participating was a big deal because the team first had to win the South Carolina state championship to qualify. Present at the tournament were 1,600 middle school, high school, and college championship teams from 160 countries.
Out of those 1,600 teams, only five would eventually lay claim to the championship titles—two middle school teams, two high school teams, and one college team. If our joy depended upon winning, there would be little joy available to us. However, we find joy in faithfulness to Christ. Because of that our joy overflowed as we witnessed middle school students and parents reflecting the goodness of Christ and shining forth the light of His gospel.
Don’t get me wrong. Our boys performed well. In the first match they, along with another team from South Carolina, beat the opposing pair of robots from Russia and Bahrain. In the end, our team won four matches, lost six, and tied one. Not bad for our second year of robotics and first trip to the Worlds. However, in addition to this commendable feat, we had a secondary reason for going.
Uniquely, God has equipped these young men through what they have learned in robotics to enter an engineering arena where, as far as we could tell, BJA was one of only two Christian schools represented. In keeping with the tournament tradition, the boys exchanged memorabilia with students from the other teams. They eagerly handed out hundreds of BJA brochures, BJA squishy soccer balls (a real hit), and tracts. Each day they shined the light of the gospel in an environment that their education enabled them to enter. That is the true purpose of Christian education!
This week at the high school awards assembly, our coaches, students, and parents received a distinguished award. The South Carolina Association of Christian Schools Sportsmanship Award, voted on by peer schools in the association throughout the year, reflects the sportsmanship displayed during athletic events in the conduct of team leaders, athletes, and spectators. Based on the accumulation of votes, Bob Jones Academy was selected for this year’s award. Amazing. Thank you to athletic director Coach Harwood, our coaches, our players, and our parents for recognizing that even in sporting events the Lord wants us to shine and reflect His glory in our words and actions.
The year has come to a close, and I pray that each of us will use what we have learned to empower us to grow in our relationship to Christ and testimony to others so that the world may see “Christ in us, the hope of glory.”