Teach The Examples!

I had an entire room of 11th graders on the edge of their seats today. 

And afterwards a student told me they loved class.

I had just told the story of the early martyr Lawrence. 

He was the arch-bishop of Rome. When the Roman government allowed all Christians to have their properties seized after being executed, he knew as the treasurer of the church of Rome he'd be in trouble. 

He tried to give away as much as he could as fast as possible. But the Prefect came to him and asked for him to give it all up. The Prefect said, "Afterall, give to Caesar what is Caesar's, right?" 

Lawrence asked for three days to gather the "treasure" of the church. 

When the time came, the Prefect came to Lawrence and requested the "treasure" of the church. And Lawrence shouted, "Behold, the treasure of the church!" 

In that moment the doors opened and blind people came in. Lame people were helped inside. Orphans and widows followed as well as the sick were carried in. 

The church's treasure is the poor, the sick, the afflicted, the needy. I don't know why, but this story always brings a tear to my eye. 

It's just so beautiful. 

Enraged at this action, the Prefect promised to kill Lawrence slowly. 

He put him up over a fire and slowly grilled Lawrence to death. Not too close to the flame that he'd die quickly, but not so far away it wouldn't hurt. 

As Lawrence had hung their a long time without saying much, he finally got the strength and was able to shout to the guards, "I think I'm done on this side, you can flip me over now."

I didn't tell just this story today in class. I also told the story of Perpetua and Felicity, the mothers who died in their early 20s. And of the martyred saints of Lyon who were viciously torn apart by beasts. 

For 45 minutes I walked through these long forgotten moments when the church REFUSED to bow to the Emperor, burn the incense, or give even one inch. The students at one point asked me, "But why not just do it?" And, "What if they promised to hurt your loved ones?" 

The same student who told me he loved class today said that these stories really made him think about his walk with God. 

THIS is why we need to teach church history. 

Too often we just skip over these things and miss out on the valuable impact that stories of how people walking out their faith looked throughout the years. 

Students need this. We need it. 

"Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a cloud of witnesses as this, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles us." - Hebrews 12:1

As Jonathan Edwards said, "There are two ways to encourage true religion. The first is through doctrine and precept, and the second is through example." 

Let us teach the examples!

If you want to listen to Elise's episode of Martyrs and Missionaries on these and other martyrs, you can hear it here: