[a sermon from the past]

[a sermon from the past]

I have heard this story over 10 years ago, but the story was so starkly told that it stuck in my mind all these years… every time it comes to mind, it fills me with infinite gratefulness.

The Old Rugged Whip

There was a class of young people that no teacher was able to handle.

Two or three teachers had been run off from school this year by these young people.

Finally a young man out of college heard about the class and applied to the school. The principal asked the young man “Do you not know what you are asking for, no one has been able to handle these young people, you are just asking for a terrible beating.”

After a few moments of silent prayer, the young man looked at the principal and said “Sir, with your consent I accept the challenge, just give me a trial basis.” The next morning the young man reported fo class. He said to the class “Young people, I came here today to conduct school, but I realize I can’t do it by myself, I must have your help.

One big boy, they called Big Tom, in the back of the room whispered to his buddies “I’ll not need any help, I can lick that little bird all by myself.” The young teacher told the class if they are to have school, there will have to be some rules to go by. He also added that he will allow the students to make up the rules and he will list them on the blackboard.

One young man suggested “NO STEALING.” Another one shouted “BE ON TIME FOR CLASS.” Pretty soon they had 10 rules listed on the board. The teacher had then asked the class what the punishment should be for breaking these rules. Rules are no good unless they are enforced. Someone in the class suggested that if the rules were broken, they should receive 10 licks with a rod across their back with their coat off. The teacher thought that was pretty harsh, and asked the class would they stand by this punishment.

The class agreed.

Everything went pretty good for two or three days. Finally Big Tom came in one day very upset. He reported that someone had stolen his lunch.

After talking with the students they came to the conclusion that Little Jim had stolen Big Tom’s lunch. The teacher called Little Jim up to the front of the room and asked him to remove his coat. That little fellow came up the aisle with a great big coat on. Little Jim approached the teacher and said “I am guilty and am willing to take my punishment but please don’t make me take off my coat.” The teacher reminded Little Jim of the rules and their punishments and asked him again to remove his coat and take his punishment like a man.

That little fellow started to unbutton that old coat, and the teacher saw that he did not have a shirt on under the coat. The teacher asked Little Jim why he came to school without a shirt on. Little Jim said “My daddy’s dead and my mother is very poor, I don’t have but one shirt and my mother is washing it today. I wore big brother’s coat to keep my little body warm.”

That young teacher stood and looked at the frail back and wondered how he could lay a rod on that little back without even a shirt on. He knew if he didn’t enforce the punishment, the children would not obey the rules. As he drew back to strike Little Jim, Big Tom came down the aisle. Big Tom asked “Can I take Little Jim’s whipping for him.”

The teacher agreed and Big Tom ripped his coat off and stooped over and the teacher began to lay the rod on that big back. But for some strange reason after only five licks, that old rod just broke in half. The young teacher buried his face in his hands and began to sob.

He heard a commotion and looked up to find not even one dry eye in the room.

Little Jim had run and grabbed Big Tom around the neck, apologizing to him for stealing his lunch, and explained that he was so very hungry. Little Jim begged Big Tom to forgive him. He told Big Tom that he would love him till the day he died for taking his whipping for him.

Aren’t you glad that Jesus took our whipping for us, that He shed his precious blood on Calvary so that we can have eternal life in Glory with Him? We are unworthy of the price He paid for us, but aren’t you glad He loves us that much?

Source: Billy Gard’s Website

  • Mary

    What struck me most about this story is the generosity of spirit shown first by Big Tom and then by Little Jim. I’m glad the old rod broke and surely this gave the teacher time to see what a pointless exercise he was undertaking. The real point here is the example of forgiveness it offers not about who got a whipping.

    • the generosity of spirit shown – yes.

      I don’t think it was a pointless exercise – the kids were given opportunity to choose whatever rules they want to follow and the consequences for disobedience. I think it was fair… Not pleasant, but fair…

  • Mary

    Well sister, I would still say that beating one student for the bad behavior of another is pointless and completely illogical. Moreover, I think this insight is there in the story: the rod broke and the teacher began to weep. The “lesson” is about love and forgiveness. I think this holds too for the bigger picture the sermon mentions: the events of Holy Week.

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