Core scripture: “There is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” (John 15:13)
Message: Silence deadened my classroom. The kids sat on the edges of their seats last Thursday afternoon at 2:00 pm as the Zoom fired up on my screen. Sure enough, not a minute late, a spatter of applause rang out as we all saw that Clay Daniels wanted to join my Zoom. We welcomed him in, and I smiled as my brother’s bearded face appeared on my screen from his office downtown.
It was Veterans Day, and there was no better way to celebrate than to hear from my brother. Clay, a graduate of West Point, served proudly in the Army for 10 years. He is now out of the military, works for U.S. Engineering, and is a proud husband and father of three kids. On the evening of Veterans Day, Clay set out walking 40 miles with a 40-pound rucksack through downtown to raise money for the homeless.
When I think of my brother as well as the numerous other veterans out there, I know we can learn some powerful lessons. No, I could never do what he does, but that military mentality can be present as we lead our students. Here are some ways to bring that into your classroom …
- Never leave a fallen man behind. That mentality can spill right into your students. In Luke 15, Jesus explains that if one out of 99 sheep wander astray, the shepherd goes after the one. If you have that one kid who is not on board, reach out to him or her. Show them you care. Lead them through no man’s land. Put them over your shoulder if you have to.
- Never, never quit. A soldier is trained to defend his territory at all costs. As Christian teachers, we are to do the same. Never give up on your students. If the lesson goes awry, find a way to reteach. Don’t be the teacher that shows a video the week of Thanksgiving just so you don’t have to fight. Teach until the final bell.
- Value teamwork. If you watch the military in action, they function not individually but as a team. The Christian teacher’s colleagues are their teammates. Get to know them. Seek their wisdom. Bounce ideas off each other. Share data. Do everything you can to better your own students by observing how other teachers function. Teamwork makes the dream work!
- Have reverence for authority. A soldier always respects his or her superior officers. The Christian teacher should respect their administration. If you are asked to go above and beyond to reach out to your kids, go there. Romans 13:1 states that God put your administration in charge of you. The least we can do is honor that.
- Understand the true meaning of sacrifice. Soldiers continually put their lives on the line for their country. Teachers may not be risking their life, but they do sacrifice a lot. Sacrifice time to go out and support your students on the playing field. Make that extra effort to reach out to those who were absent.
Teach like a veteran to honor those who have paid the ultimate sacrifice.
Challenge: Thank a veteran today. Even if you don’t know them, shake their hand and tell them, “Thank you for your service to our country.”
Prayer points: Lift up the following areas to the Lord …
- Praise God for all of our veterans and their sacrifice for our country.
- Pray that the Lord would keep all of our nation’s military safe—especially those in harms way.
Video application: This is the video of my brother finishing his 40-mile walk to help the homeless. Hats off to Clay!
Just for fun: I asked the families of our students to get involved with our Veterans Day festivities. Thursday morning I received an e-mail from one of my students whose grandfather had made a video to share with my classes. I would love to share that video with you below:
Prayer: Father, thank you so much for the protection you give us through our nation’s military. Amen.