Marked absent


Nine years ago I had a brief foray into high school education. I left my university faculty position to teach and coach at a local underprivileged high school. I learned a lot, mostly about myself, during that semester.

One aspect of the experience that surprised me considerably was the significance of taking attendance each morning. It was essential that the first period attendance be submitted on time. Every morning. If I was late, a messenger from the principal’s office came knocking at my door. Without fail.

The truth is that attendance matters. You must be present to learn, to grow, to experience. The same is true for our relationship with God. We must show up, sit in his classroom, pay attention, and accept his instruction.

Here’s the great news. God shows up every single day. He’s never once sent a substitute. What he did send, though, was his son. God left the classroom and showed up at your front door that week you were sick, the Friday you skipped to go party with your friends, the Monday you were too depressed to drag yourself out of bed. Jesus comes to you when you are marked absent and with his loving grace guides you back to the classroom.

If you’ve been skipping, it’s time to return to school. Your attendance is being noted! You have a loving God who wants to see you each and every day. See you in class.

About Tony Schmitz

Tony Schmitz received his BS in Mechanical Engineering from Temple University in 1993, his MS in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Florida in 1996, and his PhD in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Florida in 1999. He is a mechanical engineering professor at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville.
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