Among the flashy booths selling the latest curriculum ideas and ranges of classroom resources, the endless lines of catered dining, the tear-jerking “Cinderella” sung live by its creator, Steven Curtis Chapman, and the many breakout sessions filled with bustling educators, I found something more important than worrying about which sessions applied to my Secondary Language Arts degree or the endless debates of public school vs. Adventist education.

I found a hope that Jesus will always be there for me and the truth that His love is what this world—and the children we impact—need.

At 7:45pm on Monday evening speaker Elizabeth Talbot effortlessly and enthusiastically put into beautiful illustration that which I believe with my whole heart. Using Mark 6, 8, and 14 she showed the significance of the bread theme found in these chapters. In the feeding of the five thousand, after he had taken the bread, blessed it, divided it, and gave it out to those who needed it, there were 12 baskets left over to satisfy again for the future. This eternal bread represented the salvation that Jesus can bring to those who ask. And the four thousand fed, representing the Gentiles of the world, had seven baskets left to satisfy.

But Jesus brought it home and summed it up to his faithful 12 in the last chapter. He again took, blessed, divided, and gave the bread to those around him and said that not the idea of bread itself, but the body of Jesus is enough to fill us all, Jew and Gentile, until eternity.

The greatest truth

As I reflected that evening on the activities and networking still to come during the conference, I thanked God that I was lucky enough to have Him in my life. I know I can’t do life alone—let alone be a guiding lighthouse leading back to the shore (God) for the searching teens I will come into contact with. I want to be a light to them all. And I’m sure most of the individuals gathered in that ballroom at that time want the same thing.

To finish off her poignant message, to show how important Jesus, His teachings, and His sacrifice are to us, Ms. Talbot showed a quote in bold lettering for 7,000 Adventist onlookers to see:

“The sacrifice of Christ as an atonement for sin is the great truth around which all other truths cluster.”

I’ve never been hit so hard in my life, and I pray those in attendance at this grand meeting, as well as those of you reading this now, can grasp this and take it to heart. Ms. Talbot, with her single quote from Ellen White’s Gospel Workers (pg. 315) and her follow-up message tore down expectations, strict doctrine, and judgmental rules by pointing us all back to the one who created the foundation for such doctrine. Never should we preach and teach on the love of Jesus as only one of 28 fundamentals, but He should be credited for every single one.

Ending her powerful message, she had one more thing to say: “Jesus wins.”

Jesse Tasche is a senior Secondary Language Arts major attending Union College in Lincoln, Nebraska.