It was my first true moment in glory. It was third grade and the assignemt was to spell “sister”. Mrs. Forgothername picked the kid sitting at the first desk in the first row on the other side of the room. I was sitting at the first desk in the last row. The girl stands up and spells sister “sistur”. She takes her seat and Mrs. Forgothername picks the kid that was sitting right behind her to spell it. He stands up and says “sicter”. Close but not right. Mrs. Forgothername went up the entire row, then began coming back down the next row having every kid stand up and attempt to spell “sister”. No one in the entire class could get it right. 24 students and none of them were getting it right. I could not believe this question made it all the way around the class and now we were at my row! The kid behind me was asked to stand. My heart is pounding out of my chest. My palms were sweating. I had to go to the bathroom so bad I was nearly crying. Certainly the question would not get to me!! I honestly thought I was going to feint. SO, the kid behind me stands to spell “sister.” “S-i-s-t-e-r-e.” WRONG! It was my turn. I had to stand in front of the entire class of 24 peers and attempt to spell “sister”. I stood slowly, sweat dripping down my face, and ready to pee in my pants. “S-i-s-t-e-r” and I sat down. “That is correct Stevie” said Mrs. Forgothername. I was KING! Victorious! Hero of the class! Ready to sign autographs! I was the winner surrounded by 24 losers!
Every one of my classmates were close, some very close-only one letter- but they failed the test. In spelling, it is either correct or it is incorrect. Right or wrong. There are not two ways to correctly spell “sister”.
Now, for a morning exercise. A question for your to ponder (as we should reflect upon it at some point daily). A question that is at the center of a Christians motivation, peace, obedience and hope. You guessed it. Here’s the question. “What is the gospel?”
A word you have heard thousands of times. But what is it? Over the next day or so, write down or at least reflect on how you would answer that question. It has to be exactly correct. Close or almost is incorrect. This is not a “yawn, not again dad” exercise. The gospel is the center of our worldview and how we define the meaning of life. There is no other central truth. And we all lose sight of aspects of it from time to time.
So, think about it. Try to succinctly articulate it, touching on its non negotiable components. Even write it down if you like. Next under the hood e mail, I will also take a stab at it, because no one can avoid this question. And no Christian should go long in his day without reflecting upon it (or some aspect of it) and it’s implications.
Third grade spelling champ (Steve Shank)