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A Retirement Address

EDITOR’S NOTE: At the close of last school year — and thanks to some grateful and imaginative students — retiring Professor Clifford Kuehne holds a “kuehne baby” and a plaque from his Greek Room #7 in the Cottage. Below are a retiree’s touching remarks.

Dear Friends in Christ,

Martin Luther once described a Christian as someone who “lives in constant surprise over the fact that God and his fellow men treat him as well as they do.” I think that any teacher retiring from the faculty at ILC can echo these words of the Reformer.

Surely when a person considers his own calling in life, he must daily confess with the apostle: “The good that I would I do not; but the evil which I would not, that I do” (Rom. 7:19). He stands day by day as a beggar before the cross of Christ, marveling at that grace of God which has provided an everlasting forgiveness and righteousness through the suffering and death of His own dear Son. For “where sin abounded, grace did so much more abound” (Rom. 5:20).

And when a retiring teacher considers God’s dealings with our school over the years, he must once again stand back and marvel. For he recognizes that day by day and year by year the Lord has mercifully provided for all of its needs–students, staff, teachers, a beautiful campus, and all of the material gifts necessary for its operation. Surely we all have good reason to live in constant surprise over the fact that God treats us and our precious ILC as well as He does.

But a Christian is also someone who lives in constant surprise over the fact that other people treat him as well as they do. What are some of the things that a retiring teacher thinks of? —

  * a Board of Regents and Administration who over the years have 
    supplied many an encouraging word and kind deed;

  * fellow teachers who have provided their constant, loving help and 
  * staff members who have been there each day with a ready smile and 
    a friendly "Hi" and who have been so quick to provide their 

  * wives and children of fellow teachers, who have made faculty road 
    the friendliest street in town;

  * members of the church body who have supported the school and its 
    teachers with their prayers, time, talents, gifts, and their 

  * and, finally, of course, the students, whose love for the Gospel 
    and youthful enthusiasm have a way of recharging a teacher's 
    battery with each succeeding class period.

Surely then a retiring teacher is someone who can live in constant surprise over the fact that not only God, but also his fellow Christians treat him as well as they do. Your kind and generous expressions during the past days have been both unexpected and astonishing.

So please accept my sincere thanks to all of you–and especially let us together thank our gracious and merciful God, who for Jesus’ sake continues to bless this school of the prophets so abundantly!


C. M. Kuehne