Dare to Disciple
one to one: Lessons about life, ministry, and grandkids
by Keith Burden, Executive Secretary, National Association of Free Will Baptists
Taking a Stand
I answered the call to preach the summer between my sophomore and junior year of high school. During the second semester of my junior year, my English class included a section on American
literature. One exercise in this study was reading plays.
One day at the end of class, our teacher assigned reading parts for a particular play. I was selected to read the part of a character named Robert. We would be reading the play aloud in class the next day.
That evening, as I was dutifully doing my homework, I opened my literature book and began reading through the play. My heart began to sink. The character I had been assigned used profanity. While I feared the disapproval of my teacher, and worse, the ridicule of my classmates, I knew I could not participate in this assignment.
I arrived early the next morning to explain to my English teacher that I could not read my assigned part because the character used profanity. Although she explained it was “only a play” and the character was simply using “colorful language,” I politely, but firmly, requested I be excused from participating.
I thought that was the end of the matter. Wrong! When class began, the teacher proceeded to explain to the rest of the class my dilemma and the fact that I had asked to not participate in reading the play. Then she asked, “Who would like to read the part of Robert?” I wondered who would volunteer.
There was an awkward silence. No one moved a muscle. No one raised a hand. No one volunteered. In that moment I experienced a profound sense of affirmation from my classmates. Later, several of them told me they respected me for taking a stand and that’s why they did not volunteer.
The teacher read the part of Robert. I’ll always believe my report card reflected her disapproval
of my decision. Incidentally, I had this same teacher the following year for speech class. She predicted I would never make it as a public speaker because I stuttered.
Please don’t miss the point of this story. I am not attempting to pat myself on the back. I did what any Christian should to do under those circumstances. For me, it was confirmation that God was pleased with my actions. It also confirmed that other people really do respect those who take a stand for what is right.
Is taking a stand for what is right always appreciated by others? Honesty dictates I tell you no. Sometimes we do face derision. But, regardless of what happens, our Father is always pleased when we take a stand for Him.
About the Column: One to One is a regular feature of ONE Magazine. Written by Keith Burden, executive secretary of the National Association of Free Will Baptists, the column explores life, ministry...and the joys of grandchildren.