Teaching math from a front porch: Making house calls for Christ

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Teaching math from a front porch: Making house calls for Christ

April 8, 2020 -

A middle school student in South Dakota was doing her lessons at home because of the coronavirus pandemic. She was struggling with a math problem, so she emailed her teacher to ask if he could help.

“You bet,” he said. Besides teaching sixth-grade math at her school, he also happened to live directly across the street.

Next thing she knew, he was standing on her front porch with a marker and a large whiteboard. The two stayed a safe distance apart and worked on her equations together. “I thought it was pretty awesome to see my teacher making a house call to give me a private lesson,” she said later.

This math teacher in South Dakota is not the only teacher who makes house calls.

Making house calls for Christ

Matthew 9 tells us that Jesus “saw a man called Matthew sitting at the tax booth, and he said to him, ‘Follow me.’ And he rose and followed him” (v. 9). Note what came next: “As Jesus reclined at table in the house, behold, many tax collectors and sinners came and were reclining with Jesus and his disciples” (v. 10).

How did Matthew’s fellow “tax collectors and sinners” know to join them at his home? He didn’t post the event on Facebook or send a tweet. It seems to me that he simply invited them to his home so they could experience what he had experienced. He wanted to give what he had received.

The woman who encountered Jesus at the Samaritan well did the same: “The woman left her jar and went away into town and said to the people, ‘Come, see a man who told me all that I ever did. Can this be the Christ?'” (John 4:29). As a result, they invited him to “stay with them” and he did (v. 40), and “many more believed because of his word” (v. 41).

Taking Christ home with us is his intention for us. For example, after Jesus healed a demoniac in the country of the Gerasenes, he said to him, “Go home to your friends and tell them how much the Lord has done for you, and how he has had mercy on you.” As a result, “he went away and began to proclaim in the Decapolis how much Jesus had done for him, and everyone marveled” (Mark 5:19–20).

Jesus spent Holy Wednesday in solitude and seclusion with his Lord. These hours were an end unto themselves, a time for the Son to commune with his Father. But they were also a means to an end, a time of preparation for the suffering and sacrifice that lay ahead of him.

When we genuinely meet God, we can never be the same. And we must offer others what we have received. As we breathe in, we breathe out. As we receive, we give.

Henri Nouwen was right: “Those who have entered deeply into their hearts and found the intimate home where they encounter their Lord come to the mysterious discovery that solidarity is the other side of intimacy. They come to the awareness that the intimacy of God’s house excludes no one and includes everyone. They start to see that the home they have found in their innermost being is as wide as the whole of humanity.”

However, “if we fail to recognize this connection, our spirituality will become either privatized or narrowly activist and will no longer reflect the full beauty of living in God’s house.”

How will you pay forward the grace of Jesus today?

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