Howard Hendricks spent sixty years teaching Christians how to study the Bible. He taught Bible study methods and teaching philosophy to scores of Christian educators all over the world. One characteristic of his teaching is the ability to use stories to make principles unforgettable.
I remember vividly one example of this. Dr. Hendricks and his wife took a trip to Yellow- stone National Park. As soon as they arrived, they received a piece of paper full of instructions. On it, in big black letters, was the warning, “Do not feed the bears.” He also noticed that as soon as they left the ranger station they started feeding the bears.
Curious, he asked a park employee why feeding the bears was prohibited. After all people are doing it, and the bears seem fine. So what’s the harm? “Sir,” the employee answered, “you have only a small part of the picture.” He then went on to explain how every fall and winter park-service personnel had to carry away the bodies of dead bears. You see, because people made gathering food too easy, the bears lost the ability to fend for themselves.
Sometimes we forget that work is a good thing. Work is given to us by God. Before sin en- tered the world, God gave mankind work to do. He told Adam to cultivate and tend the garden. Since this occurs before sin entered the world, we are to understand that work is good part of what God has for us.
Yet we know that after sin entered the world, the goodness of work was corrupted. Work became hard and often unrewarding. Moreover, our relationship to work is also corrupted. The cor- ruption can usually be seen in two ways. On the one hand, we can become lazy and avoid work alto- gether. (Perhaps you have noticed that some people work harder to avoid work than it would be to actually do the work). This manifests itself in a variety of ways. Sometimes it shows up in poor work. Sometimes we see it in incomplete work. Sometimes we see it in a generally poor attitude towards work.
On the other hand, we can become too engrossed in our work and become work-a-holics. When this happens, work takes over life. All things are submitted to the demands of work. Key events are missed for work. Precious moments are neglected for work. In an unhealthy way, work takes over our lives.
The biblical doctrine of work is one of balance. Hard work must be matched with right prior- ities. At CLA we strive for the biblical balance. We are not afraid to ask children to work hard. After all, they are only here for a season. When they leave, we want them to be able to fend for them- selves. At the same time, we aim to partner with families so that families can enjoy being together.
It is an impossible balance to strike in a fallen world, but that does not mean that we should avoid trying. Our goal is to graduate students who look back on their time as CLA and say, “That was really tough, and it was really great.”
Thank you for joining us on this journey. Shane