Welcome to a great year at South Coast Baptist College,
‘Like arrows in the hands of a warrior are children born to one’s youth.’ (Psalm 127:4)
It is a delight to be engaging with your children in their educational journey. I came back to school feeling a very strong sense of purpose, to encourage your children to be increasingly aspirational; to aim high, and persist with the tough, gritty determination that we know is part of Rockingham’s DNA.
You have entrusted the education of your children to us, and we will do everything we can to honour God’s precious gift to you; your sons and daughters.
When greeting students in their first assembly, I shared with them the story of a king who didn’t achieve what he could have.
It’s a relatively unfamiliar Bible story, described in a recent (2017) book by Erwin McManus called: ‘The Last Arrow; save nothing for the next life’.
I highly recommend it.
The story focuses on Jehoash King of Israel.
To set the scene, the King’s mentor is the prophet Elisha. Elisha is dying. The King seeks Elisha’s counsel about a forthcoming conflict.
14 Now Elisha had been suffering from the illness from which he died. Jehoash king of Israel went down to see him and wept over him. “My father! My father!” he cried. “The chariots and horsemen of Israel!”
15 Elisha said, “Get a bow and some arrows,” and he did so. 16 “Take the bow in your hands,” he said to the king of Israel. When he had taken it, Elisha put his hands on the king’s hands.
17 “Open the east window,” he said, and he opened it. “Shoot!” Elisha said, and he shot. “The Lord’s arrow of victory, the arrow of victory over Aram!” Elisha declared. “You will completely destroy the Arameans at Aphek.”
18 Then he said, “Take the arrows,” and the king took them. Elisha told him, “Strike the ground.” He struck it three times and stopped. 19 The man of God was angry with him and said, “You should have struck the ground five or six times; then you would have defeated Aram and completely destroyed it. But now you will defeat it only three times.”
20 Elisha died and was buried. [2 Kings 13: v14 – 20]
In ‘The Last Arrow’, the author writes:
‘When the king of Israel met with the ailing prophet Elisha, he was told to grab some arrows and strike the ground before him. He did so three times, then stopped even though more arrows were left. History records the dire results of his partial effort.
Often we have arrows in our hands, blaming God for our partial victories when it is we who gave up too soon.
To all of us who long for more, but settle for less, and give up too soon, [the author] drives an arrow into the ground and declares, “Never settle. It’s all or nothing. Save nothing for the next life!
Yes, this is costly. You will face great risks. There can be no backup plan. Everything is required, including the last arrow. Yet it is the only way to pursue life’s deepest joys and greatest battles – with a full heart and an empty quiver.’
My message to our young people at SCBC:
- Think like a king. Aim high!
- Don’t stop after a little while. Keep going. Don’t quit.
- Your understandings, the things you learn, they are like arrows. They can help you hit targets that you may think are too far away.
We serve a great God, and by association, we want you to join us in having high expectations.
Looking forward to our year ahead,