Sent to Serve
“[T]he Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”
Students across the country are celebrating National Lutheran Schools Week with special events all week long. In normal years these activities range from chapel services with neighboring schools to dress-up days, from school assemblies to guests speakers or concerts. However, for a group of fourth grade students at Trinity Lutheran School in Toledo, Ohio, they will be viewing the funeral service of their teacher, Mr. Jess Thacker.
Jess was a classmate from Concordia University Nebraska. He had the unique ability to relate to everyone at Concordia. He was equally at home talking to football players who lived next door as to pre-seminary students who were in choir with him. After graduation, he used that great gift to be able to reach generations of students in Kansas, Texas, and Ohio. In a day when male elementary teachers were rare, Jess was able to be a caring role model, coach, and teacher who showed Christ’s unconditional love to all of his students and players.
Mr. Thacker’s final lesson to his students was not how to live, but how to die. For his goal each day was to help his students to know that they are loved by the God who created them in His own image, who died for them on the cross, who called them to faith in His Son. This was the faith He taught those students and the faith in which he died. While so many other students are celebrating, Mr. Thacker’s present and former students will be grieving this week, but our prayer is that they do so in the faith that they were taught in his classes.
For generations, our Lutheran schools have been blessed with such faithful teachers. Like Mr. Thacker, their legacies are their former students who have been taught those in the faith are “sent to serve” future generations in churches, schools, and in the world. In the midst of the celebrations of this week, please take time to give thanks to God for all of the faithful teachers who rest from their labors. Finally, join me in praying for Jess’ wife, Angie, the fourth graders at Trinity in Toledo and for all of those who grieve this week, yet are comforted with the hope of the blessed reunion in heaven. Thanks be to God for Lutheran Schools and for Lutheran School teachers like Jess Thacker. “Well done, good and faithful servant!”
Prayer – Almighty and everlasting God, we give thanks to You for Lutheran schools at every level. May they be centers of learning about the world that You have created and about Your beloved Son, who in whom all things are made new. Bless the celebrations in our Lutheran schools this week as we rejoice in this great heritage of faith that You have provided. May You also comfort those who mourn with the sure and certain hope of the resurrection of the body and the life everlasting through Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.
Fraternally in Christ,
President Lee Hagan