An Unlikely Hero

21 Jan

Mr. Berry was my junior high mathematics and Bible teacher. He was older man, with dark thinning hair which wasn’t quite a comb-over, but was definitely heading in that direction. His clothing was out of style, and was usually too small giving him an unkempt appearance. He was required to wear a tie which barely made it half-way down his dress shirt due to a round belly that stuck straight out. He was never accused of being cool, on the contrary, many students considered him a little strange.

algebraMr. Berry taught me Algebra, and how to discover the meaning for x. Mr. Berry was a  good teacher, and he loved mathematics. During class, he would often get excited about the topic (which is hard for many of us to understand). The more excited he got, the more his hair would shake, and the louder his voice got. Most of us in the class just thought it was strange, but he didn’t care.

There was only one thing that Mr. Berry loved more than math, and that was the Bible. During our Bible class, we were working through the Old Testament Kings. By the end of the year, I had the whole chain down – Saul, David, Solomon, Rehoboam, etc.

But while this is important to know, that is not why I thank him today.

I still remember the day when Mr. Berry stood before our class and challenged us to begin reading the Bible on our own. I was familiar with his displays of excitement, but nothing could have prepared me for that day. He got up in front of our class, and his hands started waving, and his voice started raising, and his hair started shaking. I think that there were even tears flowing. He carried his big fat KJV Bible around the classroom, slapping it occasionally with his hand for added conviction.

He actually believed that God used the Bible to speak to our lives. He was so old-fashion that he thought that the Bible was still relevant to our world. He was foolish enough to think that the Bible contained wisdom that the world couldn’t give me. He had the audacity to tell me that I should be reading it EVERY SINGLE day. 

The crazy thing is that when I left class that day, I believed ever word he said. Even crazier, is the fact that I believe him more today than I did back then. That night when I sat down to read my Bible marked a huge change in my spiritual journey.

It was the beginning of a passion and spiritual discipline that has lasted for over twenty years.

I don’t know where Mr. Berry is today. I am not sure if he still has his hair, or his round tummy. I am not sure if he would even remember my name, but I will never forget him. Many mornings he comes to mind as I sit down to hear from God through His Word.

He is my unlikely hero.

david in hatDr. G. David Boyd is very thankful for the teachers that God placed in his life.  May you all see your impact for God’s Kingdom.  He is the founder and managing director of EA Resources, a non-profit devoted to helping parents of emerging adults.

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