ISSUES OF FAITH: Thank and God bless teachers, for they light the way

BRACE YOURSELF: JUNE is coming quickly, and June means the end of another school year.

But before the last bell rings, let’s take a minute to say thank you.

Today marks the end of Teacher Appreciation Week, and I genuinely appreciate all the teachers and staff who make education possible.

Whether it’s in public schools, Christian schools, home schools or churches, teachers have a huge responsibility.

The Bible recognizes the magnitude of this responsibility when it cautions, “Not many of you should become teachers … for you know that we who teach will be judged with greater strictness” (James 3:1 ESV).

Teaching is serious business.

While most of the teachers I know take their responsibility seriously, they also teach relentlessly.

They are driven — not by pursuits of fame or fortune; they are driven to convey information, knowledge, wisdom and truth into the minds and hearts of their students.

This can be difficult because many students are not always driven to learn.

If you have a student in school, I’m sure he or she is eager to learn, but many students aren’t.

I speak from experience. For me, high school was a social activity that required assimilating enough information to pass from one grade to another.

I could have written Proverbs 5:13 — “I did not listen to the voice of my teachers or incline my ear to my instructors.”

It wasn’t until I was in my mid-30s that I developed a voracious appetite to learn, which is a little late, but “better late than never,” right?

Lighting the way

So hang in there, teachers. Persevere. Treasure the moments when you see the “lights come on” in your students, and when you don’t, pray to God for patience.

If it’s any consolation, know that in the Bible, Jesus is referred to as “teacher” 26 times, and even though he was also the Son of God, his students seldom caught on to what he was trying to teach them.

One of Jesus’ more poignant teaching moments was when he washed and dried his disciples’ tired and dirty feet (John 13:1-16).

The disciples were astounded. Peter resisted, initially.

But the teacher taught them that teachers serve, and he instructed them to do likewise. I know several foot-washing teachers.

If you’re a teacher, my prayer for you is that in addition to an ample supply of towels, God will give you creativity, wisdom, integrity, joy and the ability to inspire.

Focus on students

Don’t let the administrative chores of teaching bog you down; focus on your students.

Hopefully they will remember some of the lessons you are trying to teach them, but they will undoubtedly remember whether you liked them. They will remember your towel.

And let’s not forget to also appreciate all the staff and administrators who make education possible.

The people who answer phones, keep records, cook, clean, counsel, discipline, mow, bandage wounds, pick up trash, unplug toilets and replenish the towels are all indispensable contributors to the educational process.

Thank you and God bless you.

_________

Issues of Faith is a rotating column by five religious leaders on the North Olympic Peninsula. The Rev. Greg Reynolds is pastor of Joyce Bible Church. His email is jbc@joycebiblechurch.org.

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