It's that time.
School is back! Administrators' summer of madness in dealing with new hires and registrations is nearly over; teachers' long and much deserved vacation has come to an end; kids' extended period of laziness and leisure is done; and parents' calmness and serenity has just begun as they no longer have to find ways to entertain their kids and keep them out of trouble all summer.
School is back and so are all of the challenges that come with it. There are difficulties for everyone involved from students to administrators to teachers and parents. Figuring out how to navigate each day and deciphering what God wants you to do is often easier said than done. For the next few weeks I want to address how it is we continue to follow God on a day-to-day basis as we get back into the groove of school. We'll look at 5 Guides that God has given us to help us get through each day, week, quarter, and the entire school year.
The first guide that God has given us is SCRIPTURE.
David writes in Psalm 119, "Your Word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path." The idea is clear enough. He sees God's Word as a light in the darkness. We have all been there before, fumbling in the dark trying to find something and wishing a flashlight or a light switch were nearby. David's point is that the Bible serves the same spiritual function in his life. But how? How, exactly, does God's Word function like a light in my life?
The biggest way is that Scripture can light your path is by giving you a proper lens through which you can view the world. Everyone views the world through some sort of lens. If we are honest, most of us look at the world through selfish lenses. We look at situations and think about how it contributes to our own personal happiness and well-being. We are only interested in conversations that will benefit us. If you don't think that is true, ask yourself how many times you pull a "one-up" in conversations! You know, someone tells you a story that immediately triggers a memory of your own so instead of engaging that person with further interest you wait for them to stop talking so you can share your story. I know I'm guilty of that.
We tend to approach each day with our own well-being in mind. Maybe it comes in the form making specific decisions to further your career, or maybe it comes in your analysis of how you can make the best use of your time to benefit yourself. And if we are being totally honest we often find ourselves frustrated with the results of our own pursuits. For teachers, maybe you spend more time than you should worrying about parent and administrator issues and how you can resolve them to improve your day. For students, maybe you spend most of your time worrying about how specific relationships benefit you or how teachers aren't doing things the way you want. And on and on it goes. We all do it.
If, however, we let Scripture be our guide we see things a little bit differently. Through Scripture you come to the understanding that Jesus calls us to "love one another" (John 13:34) and to "make disciples (Matthew 28:19). Therefore, if Scripture is the "light to my path" then I view people not as problems to be solved, but as people to be loved.
Teachers, ask yourselves each day how you can love your colleagues, students, parents, and bosses better. How can you view each of your interactions as opportunities to be loving, truthful, and sacrificial? What would it look like to "count others more significant than yourselves" (Philippians 2:3)?
Students, how can you love your teachers, administrators, and parents better? There are opportunities to be more loving each and everyday. Jesus' call is for you to "look not only to [your] own interests, but also to the interests of others" (Philippians 2:4). Before having a fit over your homework assignments, be considerate of your teacher's large workload and small paycheck!
We can all improve in the area of loving one another in the way that Christ loved us. We can't do it perfectly. But the reality of our failures in this area should drive us to see Christ's success in this area more clearly. Jesus Christ's love is perfect. He loved difficult people (us) a lot better than we love anyone. I encourage you to let Scripture guide your thoughts everyday. Remind yourself that Jesus Christ loves sinners so much that he willingly died in your place to save you from the punishment that comes from being sinful. Experiencing that kind of love and reminding yourself of it daily will only help you be better at modeling the same kind of love.
And maybe, just maybe, God will use the love you show to demonstrate his love to someone else. Have a great first week of school!