Core scripture: “But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things!” (Galatians 5:22-23)
Message: The clock is ticking. Less than a week to go. Two more full days of students. One glorious half-day, followed by checkout day, followed by hello summer day! How are you going to end it? Will you finish strong? Temptation lurks around every corner. The fruits of the spirit had better be flowing through you. Otherwise you will find yourself apathetically stumbling through the last week of school. My advice to you is simple. Be leery. Be on guard. 1 Peter 5:8 states, “Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.” If you want to escape the evil talons of Satan, you had better be ready to fight him off with God’s Word. Hence we shall focus on three scriptures that we should all keep in our hearts the last week of school.
“The soul of the sluggard craves and gets nothing, while the soul of the diligent is richly supplied” (Proverbs 13:4). It is pretty easy to get lazy the last week of school. Pop in a video. Put your feet up. Let apathy overtake you. How do you want your students to remember you? Ladies and gentlemen, it is not time to throw in the towel. It is time to finish with a bang! Inject your students with wisdom. Allow them to reflect on what they have learned this year. Celebrate successes you have seen in the classroom. And if time allows, have fun with your students. Today my students are finishing off awards for each kid, and we will follow that with a rousing game of character chaos. How will you choose to finish? Impart the impression that you truly cared about them.
“Do all things without grumbling or disputing” (Philippians 2:14). I cannot count the times I have been tempted to complain over the last month of school. Kids that are not on board. Tasks to be done. Grading that swamps my desk. Meetings to attend. You have a choice here. You can waste your time complaining about meaningless nothings, or you can choose to see the positive. Tired of sulking over the kid that is a thorn in your side? Think of the kid that inspires. Tired of grading a mountain of projects? Be grateful you have a job that allows you to live out the gift God gave you to be a teacher. Be forgiving, be gracious, and epitomize patience. All complaining does is suck the life out of the room. Don’t be a life-sucker. Be a light shiner!
“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). There is no room for laziness if you work with enthusiasm. Let passion drive you! Sprint to the finish line, not for your own glory but to point the finger up at God. What I love doing the last week of school is giving each child three gifts. One is a personalized note from me to them, encouraging them in their strengths and praising successes I saw. Another is a letter they wrote themselves the first week of school. Finally, each kid gets a list of positive qualities that other classmates wrote about them. You’d be amazed at how many will weep when they realize they are indeed beautiful or that they are an amazing artist or that their friendship is priceless. There are times I weep with them, I laugh with them, and I praise them. All for the glory of God.
Of course, if you want the core truth of today’s thought, go straight back up to the top. Examine the fruits of the spirit. BE that fruit to your students this week. Jesus tells us, “I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing” (John 15:5). Abide in Christ this last week of school. Be passionate. Inspire reflection. Spread joy. Bear fruit. These students are the future of the world, and you, you have the power to set them free and guide them to success. Let the last week of school be the most memorable week of their lives. Don’t count down the days till summer. Count down the days left to make a difference!
Challenge: Be self-aware of everything you show this last week of school. Make sure your actions and words align with the fruits of the spirit, and send your students off to summer with encouragement, passion, and prayer.
Song to bring it home: One of my all-time favorite Christian songs that keeps me going is Rend Collective’s “Build Your Kingdom Here.” Listen to it for inspiration to finish the last week of school strong.
Prayer: Father, give me strength to finish one more week of school. Let me give my full heart to You and all You need me to do, celebrating the successes of my students. Amen.