Core scripture: “The angel said to the women, ‘Do not be afraid; for I know that you are looking for Jesus who has been crucified. He is not here, for He has risen, just as He said. Come, see the place where He was lying. Go quickly and tell His disciples that He has risen from the dead; and behold, He is going ahead of you into Galilee, there you will see Him; behold, I have told you’” (Matthew 28: 5-7).
Message: I love the spring. The aroma of fresh cut grass. Flowers in bloom. Allowing my beautiful boys to have freedom to run the cul-de-sac with their neighborhood friends. Freshness. Newness. The color green symbolizing new life. Easter. The power of the resurrection! It all comes together, doesn’t it? Spring simply breathes new life into me. There is a pep in my step. I can wear those golf polos to work and put my sweaters away. I can teach my favorite book of the school year, the Outsiders, and watch my most reluctant readers learn all over again that if you find the right book, reading can actually be enjoyable. Yes, I do love the spring!
Do you know what is sad? It is sad that there are days Satan tempts me to take a day off. He’ll start slow, then he will amp it up. The next thing I know I am playing a YouTube video for my students reading the Outsiders aloud as opposed to passionately reading it aloud myself. Or I will find myself apathetically grading an assignment for completion rather than taking the time to provide valuable feedback to my students. Worse yet, it spills into my home life. Exhausted from a long day at work, I will throw my boys in front of their favorite DVD of the week so I can decompress with the new Galaga game I downloaded on my iPad. Do you struggle with this too?
It is time as Christian teachers that we evaluate where we are right now. Anyone getting burned out? Anyone tempted to play a meaningless video the last week of school so you can count down the days until summer? Are you smiling to your colleagues, giving them high fives, saying stuff like, “Hey, only six more weeks till summer!” How sad is that. The Christian teacher doesn’t have six more weeks until summer. The Christian teacher has six more weeks to make a difference. The Christian teacher has six more weeks to get through to that reluctant learner that wants to skate by, doing nothing. The Christian teacher has six more weeks to mentor, counsel, and inspire. I want my heart to be there. It can, and through God’s power, it will!
This weekend we celebrate Easter. Talk about the ultimate resurrection! Jesus Christ went to the cross, bled for you and me, died, and rose again. It was the greatest miracle known to mankind! He conquered death. He laughed in the face of the enemy. He showed Himself to His disciples and inspired them with the Great Commission. Don’t you love His last words to the disciples? “And behold I am with you always to the end of age” (Matthew 28: 20). His Holy Spirit does indeed live inside us all, and do you know what? I rely on that spirit every day this time of year. It is through that spirit that I press on. If I lived by my fleshy desires, I’d be counting the days down until summer. Not now. Not through the power of the Holy Spirt. Jesus simply won’t allow me to take a day off.
Let me ask you a question … why did you go into teaching in the first place? It wasn’t for the summers off. It wasn’t so you could apathetically go through the motions and live life like a robot. You got into teaching because you loved kids! Do you remember your first lesson you ever taught? I do. It was at Oregon Trail Middle School way back in the spring of 2003. I was a student teacher assigned to an 8th grade Language Arts class, and I swear, I must have prepped for that lesson at least two weeks. Then the day came. To get up there in front of those eager faces, to see the wonder in their eyes, to pace around the room trying to connect to each kid … it was a natural high for me. I asked the cooperating teacher to take a picture of that class. Not sure where it is now, but that lesson meant everything to me. I gave it my best.
Why not resurrect that passion now? Today I get to read a pivotal chapter in the Outsiders. Pony and Johnny are getting ready to be jumped by the socs, and sweet Johnny, who wouldn’t hurt a fly, is soon going to kill Bob in self-defense of his best friend, Pony. I want the kids to be hanging on my every word. I want my performance to get better and better each hour with the same passion I taught with that first day back in 2003. I want to hear the class debate whether or not Johnny should be tried for murder, arguing back and forth in a productive way, giving them something to tell their folks tonight at the dinner table. Through the Holy Spirit of Jesus Christ, I can be that teacher today! It is only 6:40 am right now, but do you know what I say? Bring em on! Let me start that lesson now!
How about you? Will you allow the Holy Spirit to inject you with passion, enthusiasm, and purpose for the last few weeks of school? Or will you succumb to the temptation living apathetically, going through the motions, and counting down the days until summer? Zachary Walker, a fellow Christian teacher, once told me that Monday was his favorite day to teach. Why? Because he loved the kids. He loved making a difference. Through the power of the Holy Spirit, we can do the same. Christian teachers, I need you! I am calling you out. Make a difference the last few weeks of school. Live with purpose! “So, my dear brothers and sisters, be strong and immovable. Always work enthusiastically for the Lord, for you know that nothing you do for the Lord is ever useless” (1 Corinthians 15: 58).
Challenge: Are you ready to carry your cross through the remainder of the school year? Think and pray about ways you can make a lasting impression on your students. What can you do to make the rest of their days memorable? Maybe you’ll write each kid a note, praising them for the gifts God has given them. Maybe you’ll try a new lesson that you’ve meant to try but just haven’t made time for. Whatever God speaks to you, don’t shy away from it. Do it! Me? I am heading down to the faculty lounge here in a bit. I want to write a message on the whiteboard. Its message will be short but sweet: “31 and a half days to make a difference!” Maybe you could do the same in your building. 🙂
Song to bring it home: Lauren Daigle’s “Come Alive” simply needs to be heard this week of Easter. In Ezekiel 37: 7-10, the prophet describes dry bones coming alive. Let’s look at it:
“So I prophesied as I was commanded; and as I prophesied, there was a noise, and behold, a rattling; and the bones came together, bone to its bone. And I looked, and behold, sinews were on them, and flesh grew and skin covered them; but there was no breath in them. Then He said to me, ‘Prophesy to the breath, prophesy, son of man, and say to the breath, ‘Thus says the Lord God, ‘Come from the four winds, O breath, and breathe on these slain, that they come to life.’’ So I prophesied as He commanded me, and the breath came into them, and they came to life and stood on their feet, an exceedingly great army.”
Isn’t that powerful? Will you be that teacher today, filled with life, purpose, and inspiration? After listening to that song above just now, I can’t help but be fired up to make a difference today. You do the same.
Prayer: Lord of the greatest miracle ever, I pray you resurrect these tired bones with fresh energy to finish the school year. Let me not take any day for granted. Use me, Lord, to inspire these sweet children before they leave my classroom and move on. May the Holy Spirit of Jesus live inside me and spill out to others this week. Amen.