Open a Book Today

Image result for students are open books

Core scripture“Open my eyes, that I may behold wondrous things out of your law” (Psalm 119:18).

Message: What do you see when your students come through your doors every day?  They carry a lot of baggage.  We teach all types of students, and as Christian teachers it is our job to read each child like a book, savoring every page.  When you dig deep, you will realize there are plenty of different types of stories.  Some may be in a fantasy, a safe spot away from their chaotic home lives.  Some might be in the midst of a romance novel, wrapped up in hormones.  Others yet might consider their stories to be an adventure, mystery, comedy, or even a tragedy.  Our students are open books that we should crave to get to know.

I am near the end of the quarter, and we have a few projects to finish up.  For me, that means I won’t be teaching much over the next week or so.  My role will shift from instructor to guide.  As the quarter wraps up, I have a choice.  I can be seen throughout the class, converse with students, help those who need help, encourage those who need encouragement, and check in on students who are struggling; or I can sit behind my desk, kick my feet up, check e-mail, catch up on grading, and let my kids flounder towards the finish line.  What teacher would Jesus want me to be?  There shouldn’t even be a debate.

I have another confession.  The reason I am writing this is because yesterday was a rough day for me.  Oh, sure, I got papers graded, cleaned up e-mail, and passed a few papers back, but I never really checked in with kids.  Today my students will begin a three-day project on their iPads, creating a presentation about plot development.  I don’t want to be that lethargic bump on a log that I was yesterday.  I want my face to be seen throughout the room.  I want to read my students like a book, seeing them through the eyes of Christ.  Jesus never focused on the problems of people around Him.  He saw potential.  He took ordinary average joes and made disciples out of them.

In Matthew 4, Jesus found Peter and Andrew, two brothers who were everyday fishermen and asked them to follow.  He likewise found two other brothers, James and John, and asked them to come as well.  Jesus didn’t just see pedestrian blue collar workers.  He saw how God could take the ordinary and make them extraordinary.  Little did others know what potential these fishermen had!  I wonder how many “fishermen” I have lurking in my classes right now.  Kids who might be seen as a nobody by others but who Jesus would see as worthy.  Jesus changed the lives of His disciples because He knew what made them tick.  We should do likewise with our own students.

It changes everything when you choose to see kids through the eyes of Christ.  Suddenly the quiet kid that doodles on her paper continually is seen as a child who needs help since she is still struggling with her father dying of cancer three years earlier.  The ADHD boy who just can’t sit still is seen as someone who is jittery about having to take care of three younger siblings after school.  I want to open some of these books today.  Our students’ stories are far from over, and Christian teachers can be the vehicle to change them for the better.  Get to know your students during down times this week.  You never know whose narrative you will influence in a positive light.

Song application: “Fix My Eyes” by For King and Country

I’d love like I’m not scared
Give when it’s not fair
Live life for another
Take time for a brother
Fight for the weak ones
Speak out for freedom
Find faith in the battle
Stand tall but above it all
Fix my eyes on you, on you

Quote: “See what no one else sees.  See what everyone else chooses not to see.” (Patch Adams)

Video application: Watch a clip from Patch Adams about seeing what nobody else sees.

Bible story: Read Matthew 4 to find out about how Jesus called His first disciples.  If Jesus called you to follow Him, would you drop everything and leave as Peter, Andrew, James, and John did?

Prayer: Father, I pray You will open my eyes to see all the different needs of my students.  Let me check in on them regularly and influence their lives in a positive way.  Amen.

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