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Five More Minutes
Photo: Willi Heidelbach
Recently, I subbed in an English class of high school sophomores. Toward the end of the class period, I could see that they had completed their work, so I gave them the last few minutes to visit with each other.

As I sat back and observed from the back of the room, I wasn’t at all surprised by the typical topics of conversation. Girls talking about fashion and softly whispering in giggled tones all of the latest scoop on other peers. Then there were the guys, who were mostly discussing cars while simultaneously checking out the girls.

In the far corner, however, something else was going on. I hate to admit it, but I have to confess that I did strain my ears in that direction. The concerned expressions on the faces of the three boys grabbed my interest as I wondered what topic had them so involved.

One of the boys was doing most of the talking while another one listened intently. I finally caught some of the conversation. “So, you see,” said one of the boys, “Jesus came from heaven to die for us…” I perked up even more!
The listening boy had apparently asked the question about Jesus, but started to lose interest in any more information.

Moment of Witnessing

Then I saw the boy who had spoken about Jesus kind of retreat to the side of the group for a bit with an expression of intense urgency, almost like he was talking to himself, asking, What more shall I say? He’s interested! I want him to know about Jesus. And the young man was very aware of the fact that the class only had about five minutes left. Soon the bell would ring and the moment of witnessing would be passed over by more pressing things like getting to the next class on time.

So, I watched this young man approach his friend again, this time explaining the fall of Lucifer and how Jesus came to save us and how to be saved. All the while, the clock ticked away. The passion to share the message of salvation shined from his face as he intently shared Jesus with his friend.

Well, the bell rang. But the message had been given. How was it received by the boy’s friend? I have no idea. But I do know how it was received by me. Sure, I already knew the message of salvation, but the passion and sense of sincere caring that this young man demonstrated in his desire to use the teachable moment that God had provided, deeply influenced me.

Would I be as passionate with my own peers when the next opportunity came around? I left the classroom determined that I would. And as I closed the door that day, I left knowing that whatever I had taught in the whole day paled miserably in comparison to what I had learned in the last five minutes.

"You are the light of the world" (Matthew 5:14).

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Gwen Scott Simmons. Copyright © 2008 by GraceNotes. All rights reserved. Use of this material is subject to usage guidelines. Scripture taken from the NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION ®.

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