Core scripture: “When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them because they were confused and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd.” (Matthew 9:36)
Message: God showed up last Wednesday. He gave me a fresh perspective I desperately needed, and it all began with our FCA meeting before school started. Eighteen kids circled up on the floor of our auditorium stage as Ryan, my church’s youth pastor, led a discovery Bible study over Matthew 9.
I was challenged by the message. We need to see others the way Jesus sees them! If you read through Matthew 9, you realize just how much Jesus was able to see into people’s hearts. He peels back the outer layers and sees straight into each soul, teaching, healing, and showing compassion. The message stuck. I began trying to see my students the way Jesus did.
Later that day, my students were busy writing their short stories. I strolled around seeing who needed help, and a young man in the back row caught my eye. Something wasn’t right. His glasses were off. His head was ducked slightly. And as I asked him if he was giving his eyes a break, I saw his lip begin to quiver.
“Do you need to talk to someone?” I asked gently.
He sniffed and said he was fine. But I knew he wasn’t! I crouched next to him and watched his eyes well with tears.
“Come on back here with me,” I said, taking him to the back office area, one eye in the room and one eye on him.
He opened up to me that he didn’t get math and was worried about his grade. I just listened and consoled him. We talked about asking his math teacher for help and going to study club after school. I encouraged him to not give up, patted him on the back, and let him get back to work. By the end of the period, he was good to go.
My next class rolled in. One of my chattier young ladies was awfully quiet. Her face was stoic. Almost expressionless. And she was normally laughing with her friends. I looked down to see her hand wrapped in a bandage.
“What happened there?” I asked, pointing to her hand.
She almost looked relieved that I had noticed it. “Oh, I sprained my wrist in cheer.”
“Man, that must have hurt,” I responded.
We talked for a few more seconds about how difficult cheer can be, and she was back to work. Back to smiling. Back to being productive.
Then there was my final class of the day. The kids had worked hard all hour, the bell rang, and a stampede of 7th graders began to swarm the hallway. One of my boys lingered. I couldn’t put my finger on it, but he looked like he wanted to talk.
“What’s up, big guy?” I asked.
“Ohhh, nothing,” he said, ducking his head.
“Come on, you look like something is up. Do you want to pull up a chair?”
“Actually, I kind of just need to vent,” he admitted.
I sat in my chair. He pulled a chair down across from me, and once again, I just listened. His football injury was frustrating him. He felt he was singled out by some of his teammates who thought he was just faking it. And he probably just needed someone to let it all out to.
I gave him a bro hug and told him to hang in there, letting him know I would be praying for him. It is so cool when you get to say that to another Christian kid.
Three kids. Three different stories. Three opportunities to make a difference. It makes all the difference in the world when you choose to see others through the lens of Christ.
Challenge: What issues are your students facing? Are you noticing small nuances that might be affecting them? Choose to see your students through the eyes of Jesus this week.
Song application: “Give Me Your Eyes” by Brandon Heath
Give me Your eyes for just one second
Give me Your eyes so I can see
Everything that I keep missin’
Give Your love for humanity
Give me Your arms for the broken-hearted
The ones that are far beyond my reach
Give me Your heart for the ones forgotten
Give me Your eyes so I can see
Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah
Prayer points: Lift up the following areas to the Lord …
- Pray that God will open your eyes to see your students’ problems.
- Pray for wisdom on how to handle sensitive issues in your classroom.
Prayer: Lord, thank you for the opportunities You give me to truly see my students. May I see them through Your perfect eyes. Amen.