May 25, 2018 was an auspicious day for the community of Noblesville, Indiana! It was the day a student left his class and returned with two handguns and started shooting. The teacher, Jason Seaman, was prepared. He prevented the young man from killing anyone, although Jason took three bullets and a young lady was also shot.
A year later, on May 17, we gave Jason a standing ovation, as the speaker for the Hamilton County Prayer Breakfast. What we heard from Jason was not what we expected!
He gave us no details of the day, and hardly mentioned the incident! He said he was not a hero and did not want to be characterized by fifteen minutes of fame on that fateful morning! How refreshing!
He asked us two important questions: Who are you?, and, What motivates you?
In today’s Me First society, many people would try to capitalize on their fifteen minutes of fame, characterize themselves as a hero, and follow their motivation of wanting to be looked on as important.
Instead, Jason shared his story of being an All-State athlete in two sports in high school, with the aspiration of playing Big Ten football. He blew out his knee in his junior year, playing basketball, and lost the chance for a Big Ten scholarship. During his rehabilitation, he began to appreciate those who graciously assisted him, realized how self-centered he had been as a star athlete, and decided he wanted to focus his life on being like the ones who were caring for, and about, him.
He decided to be a teacher so he could influence the lives of others. Since he enjoyed science, he decided to teach science as well as coach sports. He was able to play football at Southern Illinois University, and he is a science teacher and coach at Noblesville Middle School. Being analytical, he thought through things that are important in being an influence in the school setting. One that is important in our current situation, is school shootings. He thought through that possibility and determined what he would do if it happened. In classroom drills he assured his students that he would protect them by tackling the shooter.
That’s what the news reports say he did! He didn’t tell us that! What he told us was that his purpose is much bigger than that! His purpose is to be a positive influence in the lives of his wife and family, of his students, and of others in his circle of influence. He is motivated to care about others! He wants to be known as someone who cares!
Who are you? Are you the one that God created you to be? Or, are you trying to be the one that society tells you to be?
What motivates you? Are you trying to impress others or please God?
We have choices in life, and the choices we make determine who we are. Our motivation determines what choices we make.
God has given us an identity, but unless we find that identity in a relationship with Christ, we are left with a worldly, self-centered choice that leaves us empty.
The Apostle tells leaders, in I Peter 5:6, "Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God..."