By Doug Bing, Washington Conference president


Mrs. Burbach was my elementary school teacher for grades 2-4. She was a quiet spoken lady but with a quiet intensity about her. She had her hands full as well.

This is a story I’ve shared before, and it seems appropriate to share it again now at the end of The Altar Project where our team encouraged you all throughout October to have daily family worship time.

There were several boys, myself included, that were, shall we say, more than a handful. We were always into something and there is no doubt that we tried her patience to the max.

She, like many teachers, believed in memory verses. Each week we would memorize those Bible verses.

There was one character in the Bible that she seemed to love, and I remember to this day her talks regarding the prophet Samuel. She spent time talking about the call of Samuel when he was a young person asleep at night and heard God’s voice. One of the memory verses I still remember is in 1 Samuel 3:9 — “Speak, Lord, for your servant hears.”

Learning to listen to God’s voice takes continual practice and investment. As we study and pray our way through scripture, we get to know God’s voice better.

Another verse that clearly comes to mind from Mrs. Burbach’s teaching is 1 Samuel 15:22. It states, “So Samuel said: Has the Lord as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the Lord? Behold to obey is better than sacrifice, and the heed than the fat of rams.”

This admonition from Samuel was given to King Saul who had disobeyed the voice of the God and captured a bunch of animals under the guise of a sacrifice for God. Instead of giving of his own sacrifice, he was capturing other people’s animals to sacrifice. He was not giving of himself or of his own good, and he was teaching the people to do the same thing. Earlier in the story it says they destroyed all that was worthless and stuff they despised.

It is easy to destroy the stuff we don’t like or don’t want. It is much harder to destroy things that we cherish or that we like.

Years ago, Mrs. Burbach spent lots of time on this story with her class. It still rings true today. God wants us to fully commit ourselves to Him even when it means to get rid of things that we love, cherish or see value in. He wants all of us, not all our stuff, that we bring in place of ourselves.

Our next spiritual growth challenge is coming at the end of November with a Stewardship Week of Prayer.

Each day from November 27 to December 3, you are specifically invited to pray through seven areas of stewardship. These are seven types of promises each Christ follower makes. I encourage you to watch the nightly broadcast from Volunteer Park Church and join in daily prayer times at noon – whether by yourself or through a teleconference that will be offered.


Today as you reflect on your walk with God, consider the stuff, the bad habits, you are holding that God has said you can leave behind.

Give God your whole heart and walk with Him fully. This is an important step in each of our lives for growing spiritually and listening well to the voice of God.