Time Offering

Well, the deed is now done. I am no longer employed as a teacher at Ermysted’s Grammar School. When I started there, I was a fresh-faced young chap in my mid-20s; now, I leave as a somewhat greyer, middle-aged man in my mid-40s. I submitted my resignation in January to take effect at the end of May when my GCSE and two A-level classes had departed. I do feel rather sad. It was a great school at which to work; the generality of pupils were intelligent and hard-working, nicely appreciating teacherly humour. I came home burdened by fountain pens, plant pots, plants, mugs, framed photos (two out of three were portraits of Sixth Formers who had thoughtfully signed them for me), books and nine boxes of chocolates. Two dozen cards are on the piano., and reading them made me feel rather sad at the decision I had taken. Yet it was the right one. I step out with less income and pension, but more time and opportunity. The older one gets, the more one values time over money, minutes over cash, seconds over pennies. The workaholic father only sees his error when his children are grown up and flown the nest. I pray God will accept and use this time offering and that He will be glorified thereby. I intend to read more, re-acquaint my mind with New Testament Greek (of which two years’ worth of previous study has proved remarkably delible) as well as offering more pastoral care. Quite how I managed to pastor Martin Top in 2015-18 while a full time Head of Sixth Form now baffles me. We were of course a smaller church then, but even so, God’s grace we find the more plentiful the more we need it. I pray Friday’s farewells, fond memories and general reduction will not succumb to melancholy, but greater service for the Master.

Gird thy loins up, Christian soldier;

Lo! thy Captain calls thee out;

Let the danger make thee bolder;

War in weakness, dare in doubt.

Buckle on thy heavenly armour;

Patch up no inglorious peace;

Let thy courage wax the warmer,

As thy foes and fears increase.


Bind thy golden girdle round thee,

Truth to keep thee firm and tight;

Never shall the foe confound thee,

While the truth maintains thy fight.

Righteousness within thee rooted

May appear to take thy part;

But let righteousness imputed

Be the breastplate of thy heart.


Shod with gospel-preparation,

In the paths of promise tread;

Let the hope of free salvation,

As a helmet, guard thy head.

When beset with various evils,

Wield the Spirit’s two-edged sword,

Cut thy way through hosts of devils,

While they fall before the Word.


But when dangers closer threaten,

And thy soul draws near to death;

When assaulted sore by Satan,

Then object the shield of faith;

Fiery darts of fierce temptations,

Intercepted by thy God,

There shall lose their force in patience,

Sheathed in love, and quenched in blood.


Though to speak thou be not able,

Always pray and never rest;

Prayer’s a weapon for the feeble;

Weakest souls can wield it best.

Ever on thy Captain calling,

Make thy worst condition known;

He shall hold thee up when falling,

Or shall lift thee up when down.


-Joseph Hart, Gadsby’s Hymns, No 270