Written by Grace Gouletas
In Romans 12: 6-7 Paul says, “Having gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, let us use them: if prophecy, in proportion to our faith; if service, in our serving; the one who teaches, in his teaching.” God has given many gifts to His people, and teaching is one of them. Making it your job to grow the mind of someone else is a beautiful thing, especially if you are working to help to make a child’s mind more Christlike. Some may wonder what the motivation of a teacher is. What would possess a person to make it their mission to endure the attitude, disobedience, and responsibility of children who are not their own?
We teach because we recognize the need of children to be instructed in the ways of truth and goodness. Naturally, we are all rebellious and hard hearted towards truth. We would rather believe the thing that makes us feel the best about ourselves. On our own, we would take goodness and rot it while trying to improve it. We cannot improve a good thing without God because without Him, we are as far away from good as eternally possible. Children are naturally small rebellious sinners and without biblical instruction and discipline they will grow to be big rebellious sinners. While we love the little children and long to see them in their best state, we know that discipline and guided instruction are necessary for healthy growth. As teachers, it is our goal to grow our students in the discipline of the Lord. We say with the apostle in 3 John 1:4, “I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth.”
We teach because we recognize the importance of godly people in the world. This is our Father’s world but at the same time, this world is not our home. While we are here, we are called to be witness to the truth of Christ. That takes courage, that takes boldness, that takes confidence. Not confidence in ourselves but confidence in who we are in Christ. As teachers, we want to show kids this confidence and grow them in it so they too can be witnesses. We keep the words of Peter as our prayer for our students, “In your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect.” (1 Peter 3:15)
We teach because we see the need children have to feel noticed. A teacher stands in front of a room full of students and addresses the entire class while simultaneously addressing the individual students. The students know this and- if the teacher is doing it right- each individual feels noticed. Relationships are important inside and outside of the classroom. We as teachers know this, so we make a point to address students on a personal level. We compliment their outfit, we ask about their pets or vacation, and we help them realize that we care about them. When a child feels cared about, they will more easily listen to and respect the caring person. But teachers do not pretend to care about their students; good teachers genuinely love them and long to see them in the arms of Christ. “So we have come to know and to believe the love that God has for us. God is love, and whoever abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him.” Teachers help students grow in their relationship with the Lord before all else.
It certainly is not the strength and patience of the teacher that gets them through the day, that credit belongs to God. God gives the strength, patience, and love needed to get the job done. Teachers are given their ability from the Lord and godly teachers humbly use that ability for His kingdom, honor, and glory.