Sprint to the Finish!

Billy Mills iconic sprint to win the 1964 Olympic 10,000 meter run

Core scripture: “Since God chose you to be the holy people he loves, you must clothe yourselves with tenderhearted mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience.” (Colossians 3:12)

Message: What do you have left in the tank?  When your head hits the pillow at bedtime, are you smoked?  You should be.  There are some teachers who might choose to coast into summer, but not me.  I refuse to count down the days till vacation.  I count the days I have left with my students, making use of every second. 

Last week I had been reading The Outsiders to my students all day.  My throat was raw.  My 7th hour rolled in, boisterous as ever.  I wanted to curl up into a fetal position and flop on the floor, playing the audiobook for them to finish off the day.  But I couldn’t!  A voice deep inside told me they needed my best.  So, I garnered what I had left and poured myself out, squeezing every last ounce of passion into my final reading. 

Compassion is a lost art this time of year.  Teachers get cranky and salty.  Yet as Christ followers we are called to push those frustrations aside and give our students our best.  We sprint to the finish!  In the final lap of the 2022-23 school year, you might be limping.  You might be blacking out from exhaustion.  But take heart!  We have a backup energy tank powered by the Holy Spirit, and Jesus will push us through.

I am reminded of the great Billy Mills in the 1964 Tokyo Olympics.  Mills was not a favorite to win the 10,000 meter run, yet he believed he could win and shocked the world.  With one lap to go, Mills was shoved twice and fell back to third place; however, around the last turn he powered into beast mode, legs churning, heart thumping, arms pumping.  Mills slingshotted himself past his competitors into Olympic glory, winning at the tape. 

Jesus had one of those moments.  His cousin, John the Baptist, had just been beheaded.  Overtaken with grief, Jesus retreated by boat to a solitary place.  All He craved was just some time alone, yet the people followed Him.  How did Jesus respond?  He had compassion on them and healed their sick (Matthew 14:14).  He then performed one of His most famous miracles, feeding the 5,000.  Jesus sprinted that last lap and never waved the white flag of surrender.

Through the years I have realized something special … when I am tempted to take my foot off the gas, the Holy Spirit always provides that reserve fuel tank to serve others.  Put your stamp on this school year!  Make some memories.  Let your light shine.  May there be no doubt you left it all on the table. 

Challenge: Give your students your best over the last few weeks of school.  Don’t just coast into summer.  Put on a relentless sprint!  Let there be no doubt you left it all on the table. 

Video application: The original footage of Billy Mills winning the 10,000-meter run will forever be my favorite sports call of all time.

Scripture study: Read Matthew 14:10-21 and journal or discuss the following questions …

  1. Why did Jesus retreat to the mountain in the first place?
  2. What was Jesus feeling when He landed His boat?
  3. Why do you think Jesus had compassion and healed the sick?
  4. Why do you think Jesus gave the fish and bread to the disciples to distribute?
  5. What was the result of this miracle?

Prayer points: Lift up the following areas to the Lord …

  • Praise God for His reserve tank of energy through the Holy Spirit!
  • Pray that we can press on to the last day, relishing the time we have left with our kids.
  • Pray that we can all make some memories the last few weeks of school. 

Suggestions: What is on your heart?  Is there any topic you would appreciate a Christlike perspective about?  Feel free to email me anytime at theteachersdevotional@gmail.com, and I will prayerfully consider your topic for my blog.

Just for fun: End of the year teacher memes are the best!

Prayer: Father, thank you for providing me with purpose and energy to tackle the last month of school.  Amen.

Categories: Uncategorized

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