Letter From The Enthusiastic Camel (aka Mr. Bowers)
I have been blessed by our good and gracious Father in Heaven to have my dream job—to be able to do what I love and serve whom I love. Over the last ten years, I have been blessed to teach the students at our wonderful school—at Evangel Classical School. I have been a part of this glorious project since before day one, when I was asked to be ECS' first full-time teacher...and they haven’t chased me away yet. In that same time frame and even before, I have had the privilege to serve in youth ministry. I truly am thankful and blessed to be a part of so many young image-bearers’ lives. I especially love seeing them become more Christlike in every way. I love and have loved seeing them grow from fledgling flounderers to foundational fathers and from faltering fools to faithful followers, and I’m not just talking about me. Ha! So much has changed in the last ten years.
But one thing has never changed and will never change no matter how much we change, and that is the love of our Father in Heaven. He is forever faithful, and His lovingkindness knows no end. He has called to Himself a people, and He will keep them until the end, and all along the way, He will hold them and make them more and more holy—more and more like His Son, and He loves to do this over and over again. He also loves to show off His love and grace by using imperfect people to help make His people more like His Son. His primary tool for this has always been fathers.
Fathers have a weighty burden to teach their children diligently to follow the commands of God and to love Him with all of their heart, soul, and might. We are called to train our children in the way they should go and to train them to stand in the gates and fight with us. A part of the blessing of having served at ECS for ten years is that I am more and more convinced of the necessity of fathers to be fully invested and sacrificially leading in humility and joy in the education of their children. I have seen a large spectrum of fathers, from the highly interested to the disinterested; from the highly sacrificial to even the selfish. I have seen the unconvinced become the convinced, and I have seen the ignorant and skeptical become the greatest proponents. I am blessed to be a parent of five children: three Raggant girls and two twin toddlers. I am blessed to have watched my closest friends raise their children and work through myriads of issues. I have watched failures and successes. I’ve seen sin and broken fellowship, and I’ve seen repentance and restoration. I’ve loved watching some of our first fathers at ECS grow and mature right along side their children; men like Sean Higgins, Jonathan Sarr, Ryan Hall, Ron vanderBeken, and Mitch Rothenberger. These men demonstrate faithfulness to me, their wives, and their children. These men are worthy of imitation.
Are you a father who is worthy of imitation or do your kids see your hypocrisy and want nothing to do with it? Are you a father who is seeking to lead his family with joy and humility, or do you lead with quick anger and coldness? Are you quick to repent when you have clearly sinned, or do you make excuses and bully your way to being right? Do you make the loving of your wife your highest earthly duty, or do you confuse and exasperate your children by not cherishing your bride and seeking satisfaction from other sources? Do you let your “yes” mean “yes,” and your “no” mean “no,” or do your words not match your actions? Do you make the worship of the Lord on Sundays especially, and the rest of the week, your family’s highest priority, or do you find other activities to crowd into your calendar? Do you take your children to the Lord in prayer, or do you “forget?”
I don’t ask all of these questions to cause guilt, but I do it to encourage you to either excel still more as you walk in the Spirit, or to repent and ask the Lord to help your little faith. You cannot substitute anybody for you in the lives of your children. The teachers at ECS are pretty awesome, but we ain’t you! Your pastors aren’t you either. The internet and social media are not you, and neither is the State. You have been given this task and blessing to make a massive profit. Praise God you are not alone in this journey. Praise God for the Body of Christ and its many gifted members. Praise God for His Word and His Spirit.
In the last ten years, we fathers at ECS have struggled. We have lacked the faith and wisdom to see what is best and how to proceed. We have lacked the joy and hope to persevere in the many hard travels. We have been the stumbling block to our children and sometimes to other children too. But we have never been left alone to our own devices. We have always been shepherded by our always-good Father in heaven, and He has given us many helps along the way in the form of our local church bodies and our godly friends. You, as a father, are not alone, but you are responsible. If you lack faith, ask! If you are being proud, foolish, angry, disinterested, then repent and obey. If you don’t know where to begin, ask! Give your cares to the one who cares for all, then love your children and jump in with all your might!
- Mr. Bowers