This past weekend I visited Ottawa, Ontario. Ottawa combines the old world beauty of a European city with the excitement of San Francisco. Michael Reed, a former student of mine, gave me a guided tour. I ate beaver tails ( a confection made of fried dough slathered with maple and hazelnut cream), saw the feral cats of Parliament Hill (which is not the name a rock group http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Canadian_Parliamentary_Cats) and generally had a great time.

 On the closing night of my stay, I was invited to attend the going away party for a young man who will be attending the Moody Bible Institute this fall. I won’t try to describe the event in detail because I don’t think I could do it justice. A small group of family and friends from the church reminisced, talked about the evidence of God’s grace in his life, and gathered around in prayer to commit him to the Lord. Michael’s father, who is pastor of the Metropolitan Bible Church in Ottawa, closed in benediction. Michael’s father is a gifted leader and true shepherd whose affection for the congregation was very evident.

 Aside from the beauty of the moment, lit as was by the glow of old friends and genuine Christian community, I was impressed by the blessing God had granted me by reminding me that I am really only one member of a much larger partnership that builds into the lives of those I call “my” students. The classroom is just one stop on a much longer road which begins in the home and wends its way through the church. It is a field where many hands help with the work of cultivation. God grant me the grace to be faithful and skillful in my small part.

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John Koessler

John Koessler serves as professor and chair of the pastoral studies department at Moody Bible Institute. His most recent book is The Radical Pursuit of Rest published by InterVarsity Press.

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