These past two weeks I’ve shared a glimpse of my teacher’s heart as I diligently prepared to kick off the new school year. Hop on over to view 30 Days of Prayer for the New School Year, 20 Strategies for a Successful School Year and Building a Bond with Your Child’s Teacher. May these tools bless you and your family whether you are still soaking in the summer sun or have already experienced the first day.
Today as I embark on the clean slate of the 2014-2015 school year, I’ve been pondering what I want my students to take away from our time together. Of course the obvious answer includes the English and History skills that I am entrusted to teach. But there’s so much more to a classroom then meets the eye; so many more lessons about the real world than just academics.
To kick off this year, my students will hear my heart as I read this letter to them. May God open their ears to truly hear me and experience His Truth.
Dear 6th grade students,
Welcome to the first of our special times together. I know, right now you groaned a little inside and maybe even imagined a good eye roll aimed directly at me; this new teacher you barely know. You wonder, how is our time together special? To you, back to school means the start of assignments, tests and those infamous 6th grade projects.
To me, back to school is the first day of my mission field and I have been praying how God will use me to minister to you during our days together. Yes, you heard me right. I am a missionary and YOU are my mission field. God has entrusted me with your attention (I hope!), your abilities and your spirits to share a message of love that He has designed just for YOU.
While you may think that I was hired only to teach you sentence diagramming and map skills, there is another reason we’ve been placed together in this classroom at this time in our lives.
God is calling YOU.
God is calling YOU to be diligent this year, and to strive to do your best to honor Him. He doesn’t want your best effort because you are striving for things of this world; an A, to please your parents, to make the honor roll or for your own pride. God is calling you to worship Him with your diligence and to rely on His strength when tasks seem overwhelming. (Colossians 3:23)
God is calling YOU to extend respect and kindness to others. You are at a crucial age for social development. Friendships probably mean more to you now than ever before, but God is calling YOU to step out in faith by showing His love to those who are new to the school, different than you or don’t have many friends. God is calling YOU to love others as yourself by including those you normally don’t and befriending someone who really needs it. (John 13:34)
God is calling YOU to be a peace maker. When you hear gossip, listen to the gentle whisper of Jesus, reminding you to close your lips and to let gossip stop with you. When you are tempted, remember that Jesus was also tempted, yet never sinned. He gave us the Holy Spirit to help us flee from temptation. You CAN be a peace maker and promote harmony with your classmates. (Matthew 5:9)
God is calling YOU to have a personal relationship with Him. Whether or not you realize it, we are all sinners. There is not one perfect person in this room, including me, and because of our sin nature, we are all separated eternally from a perfect God. But there is hope! He loves you, and gave you the best gift ever when His Son, Jesus took your place on the cross and died for you. Because He died for you. when you invite Him into your life and begin a relationship with Him, you will experience Heaven with Him after this life is over. That relationship is sweeter than any love you’ve ever known. God will provide comfort when you mourn, joy on your journey through life and peace when times are tough. You can start that relationship with Him today and experience the hope that comes from walking through life with Him by your side. (John 3:16)
My dear students, my mission field, God is also calling ME, your teacher. He is calling ME to be gentle in spirit and correct you with kindness. He is calling ME to reflect His love to you in all situtations, to pray for you and with you. He is calling ME to guide you through the journey of this school year and to encourage you to embrace whom God created you to be.
God is calling us all. I accept my challenge from Him, but do you accept yours? May God grab a hold of you this year and never let you go.