Today marks the last day of our devotions on encouraging words found in Colossians, and we’re going to begin with a question: Who do you work for? Your answer may be the name of your school, your principal, or perhaps the LCMS. If you run especially against the grain, you may have even said that you work “for the man.” Yet in Colossians 3, we can learn from Paul that in our vocation as teachers, we’re working for someone far greater than any of these answers acknowledge.
When you get ready in the morning, you “put on” many things. You put on clothes, socks, and shoes. When it’s chilly, you put on a hat or a jacket. If you’re a coffee drinker, you may put on a pot of coffee to brew. If you like to stay in the know, you may put the morning news on the television. There are many things to put on in the morning, but one thing is most important to put on—love.
Of all of the responsibilities that adults have to carry, one of the least liked is paying the bills. Not only does paying the bills require a fair amount of responsibility and organization, but it also means you watch your bank account drop with each payment. At times, the payment due is much larger than you had anticipated, causing your eyes to bulge as you open your bill. Some bills may even come dangerously close to being more debt than we can pay. Can you remember a time when you had a bill that was too much for you to pay? In truth, every person has a debt that was too much to pay off. That debt is our sin.
Most Lutheran teachers are familiar with the story of God’s people wandering in the wilderness for forty years. Their lack of faith and patience caused them to be stuck wandering for an extra thirty-nine years. During this time, the Israelites were upset, exhausted, and ready to be done.
What is your school’s building made out of? Many are made of brick or concrete, others from stone or some combination of these materials. Frames, pipes, walls, flooring, and wires also make up the school building you are teaching in today. But that’s not all that your school is made of. More crucial than whatever construction materials were used, a Lutheran school is made up of the children of God.
A quick Google search will tell you that the surface area of the Pacific Ocean is nearly sixty-three million, eight-hundred thousand square miles. One of the deepest known parts of the Pacific Ocean is the Mariana Trench, which has been measured at a depth of 36,070 feet—that’s almost seven miles deep! Such a vast ocean is far beyond our comprehension, to say the least. Although technology enables such measurements, our minds can’t imagine such a huge body of water.
Have you ever noticed that God likes to break down walls? Through the strength of Samson, God broke down the temple of the Philistines’ false god (Judges 16). To fulfill His promise to the people of Israel, God destroyed the walls of Jericho (Joshua 6). Finally, He broke down the biggest wall of them all—the “wall of hostility” that once separated us from Him.
One great thing about teachers is that sometimes we tend to be pretty crafty. From bulletin boards to window displays, teachers sure know how to “brighten up the place.” We also like to involve arts and crafts in our lessons. We have students do drawings, dioramas, posters, 3D models—the list goes on and on. Creativity is something to be encouraged and celebrated, in and out of the classroom. It is good for our students to be artists.
“I just had such a sense of peace.” This is something you may hear someone say after reading a good book while laying out on the beach or listening to the waves roll in to the shore. Peace is an easy thing to feel when you are in a stress-free zone like the beach, the lake, or the spa. When we are stress free and relaxed, we naturally thank God for our peaceful day.
Consider the following scenario: You are one week away from the biggest field trip of the school year. Half of your students have yet to turn in their permission slips, and they’re due tomorrow. One of your few parent chaperones signed up for the trip just moved to the United States from India this year and speaks little to no English. On top of that, you have a dentist appointment this evening for a potential root canal that conflicts with your child’s soccer practice. There’s no way you can pick your child up, take him or her home, and make it to the dentist on time. Life is sometimes stressful.