Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Labor of Love

1 Corinthians 15:58
Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.

I taught middle school for thirteen years. (Unlucky number, but lucky me!) When people would ask me what age group I taught, upon hearing "seventh grade", they would view me either as a saint or a lunatic. I was neither. I genuinely liked these "tweens" who mingled the genuine curiosity of children with their geometrically-expanding cognitive abilities. Certainly, every year saw those infamous few who tried my patience and made me wonder if I could survive without going crazy; fortunately, the good eggs always far outweighed the bad.

Throughout my years as a teacher, I was conscious daily of the huge responsibility granted me in educating these youngsters. It was daunting at times to think that anything I said or did on any given day could affect them for the rest of their lives. This thought kept me humble indeed!

Every day, during the flaccid "moment of silence" substituted for powerful, and much needed, prayer in the public schools, I would silently make this appeal to God:

"Heavenly Father, let me do Your will and walk in Your ways in everything I think, say, and do this day. In Jesus' name, I pray. Amen."

I invited the Lord into my heart, my mind, my classroom. He gave me the strength and wisdom to treat every child in my care as one who is in His, first and foremost. Even on the most difficult days, when I was tempted in every way to stray from the mark, these words would float back up to the surface of my thoughts, calming me, refocusing me, reminding me whose work I was truly doing by touching, positively, the lives of these children.

I gave myself over to serving God so I could better serve my students. Teaching was, for me, a labor of love, fruitful and never in vain. I feel confident that He allowed me to make an affirmative impression on these youngsters; a lasting one of love which they now pay forward in their lives.

Will you pray with me?

Father, we thank you for the many opportunities to touch the lives of others in Christ's love. Keep our eyes open and our words prepared when someone we meet needs to hear the good news of Your salvation. May we all exemplify Your grace and mercy in our daily lives. May all our works be done in Your Name. Amen.

Readings
Psalms 38 or 119:25-48
Lamentations 2:8-15
1 Corinthians 15:51-58
Matthew 12:1-14

14 comments:

  1. Teaching is a noble profession. Requires a lot of patience and love and good that you loved your profession.
    Nice post.

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  2. Thank you, Janu! Hope your day is blessed!

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  3. Beautiful! The world would be a very different place if everyone took this approach to their life work!

    Reminds me of the several Bible passages where Jesus stated, "Not My Will, but Yours Be Done." Not that I'm comparing teaching middle school to being arrested, jailed and crucified -- hehe!

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  4. It's the attitude behind our work that makes the task fruitful or futile. Not every teacher walks into a classroom with the mind and intent to serve the Lord. The goal to "do all for the glory of God" is noble and will produce a good harvest.
    I taught too, and know that I did make a difference. Some of my stories are so sad, though, that I almost don't want to tell them.

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  5. Thank you, Linda and Debra for taking the time to stop by and writing words of encouragement!
    @Linda - Sometimes, it felt like that: arrested, jailed and crucified. I truly loved working with the children, but the stress to teach to the test just strangled creativity and individuality. It's a long story as to why I finally resigned. Let's just say, my hair was falling out!
    @Debra - I have some sad stories myself. It hurts still to think about them, though I have forgiven. Yes, to "do all for the glory of God" is the only way to take on any task in life. It's all that matters. It's the only way any of us truly make a difference!

    Blessings to you both!

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  6. Wonderful prayer Martha... I have no doubt God smiled hearing your plea to him at the beginning of class each day.

    Have a Blessed Day!

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  7. Teaching... something I miss. Taught pre schoolers till 1st grade. That has been my most rewarding career... it still is but different now...
    Beautiful prayer

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  8. Thank you Phather Phil, Kati, and Savira for taking time out of your day to comment here. Much appreciated!
    @Phil - I know He heard! It helped me through so many trying moments.
    @Kati - Praise the Lord!
    @Savira - So neat to find out you were a teacher, too! It is rewarding, no doubt about it, but now writing is that for me. Hope it is for you, too!

    Blessings all!

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  9. Hi Martha:
    Good stuff here as always. The work of the Lord is what you would do for free if given the choice. The work of the Lord is what sets you on fire; it's what gets your blood flowing.

    Teaching is that for you. Good for you that you discovered your gift.
    --
    Chris

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  10. I admire your faith and your strength in educating children. <3

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  11. Thank you, Chris and Jan, for your wonderful comments! Sorry to be so late in responding.
    @Chris - I loved teaching, but I love writing SOOOOOO much more! That is my true calling. :)
    @Jan - It did take an awful lot of effort and commitment. I enjoyed it almost every moment, but, as I said to Chris, am so glad to be writing.
    Blessings always!

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  12. Hello! :)

    I've had some wonderful teachers throughout schooling. Yes, everythong you teachers do stays with us. Unfortunately not many people understand a school goes beyond academics.

    I have deep sense of respect for you after reading this, very thoughful and considerate of you.

    Good day !! :)

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  13. Sameera, thank you for taking the time to stop by and leave such an encouraging comment!

    I am gratified to know that you had inspiring teachers during your school years. Yes, school, the school of life, goes far beyond academics; to know in the head is not enough as the heart must be engaged as well. All must work and thrive together in harmony.

    Blessings, my friend!

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