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Monday, January 8, 2024 (Mary Ann)

Posted on by Josh Heppner 0 comments
Good morning, tribe. Our lesson today is from Paul. No, not the Apostle Paul, my brother Paul.

You see, I wrote most of this last week on a plane on the way to Texas for his funeral. So, before the lesson, we need to know two things about Paul: He was 85. He was quiet.

Really quiet. Didn’t say much. Stoic. Very Norwegian. So while words weren’t his strong suit, his actions were. He helped people. He volunteered. He didn’t make a lot of demands. That’s why the last chapter of his life surprised us all. Because after 28 years as a life insurance underwriter (I’m stifling a yawn) in Owatonna, Minn., he took early retirement and, with his wife, followed their sons to Texas. There, once settled, he got another job. As a substitute teacher in Longview, Texas.

You might say Paul found his voice. Or his calling. And he loved it so much that he worked this second career of his for another 28 years! Until last mid-October. (The photo is of 85-year-old Paul on his last first day of school.)

They say he made quite an impact on the lives of countless students – mostly high school in a rather tough school district. Which meant he must have talked on occasion! Many of us are astonished.

So here are some lessons I’m learning from Paul:

1. Being quiet isn’t all bad. James 1:19 reads, “Know this beloved brothers [sisters]: Let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger.”

2. It’s never too late to change; it’s never too late to find your voice. Lamentations 3:22-23: “The faithful love of the Lord never ends! His mercies never cease. Great is his faithfulness; his mercies begin afresh each morning.”

3. Actions are often more effective than words. 1 Peter 4:10-11a: “God has given each of you a gift from his great variety of spiritual gifts. Use them well to serve one another. Do you have the gift of speaking? Then speak as though God himself were speaking through you. Do you have the gift of helping others? Do it with all the strength and energy that God supplies. Then everything you do will bring glory to God through Jesus Christ.”

So learning is a journey. And I’m on it, Paul!

Mary Ann


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