When I was in Grade 3, I made some money by charging an entry fee for friends who wanted to join the games I hosted. Business was good for three lunch times until my associates and I were found out.
I don’t remember the repercussions of that but it obviously wasn’t too bad as I still remember being a favourite of my teachers. I remember exciting memories like that, being in school plays and dances but I don’t remember much from actually being in the classroom.
There are two big questions this year that I’ve been processing and praying about and I hope I can start a conversation with people who have asked the same questions.
First, will my students remember anything from my class? And specifically, will they continue to view God’s Word as true and Jesus as the Way, the Truth and the Life?
Right now when my students are asked how they can help other people, among other answers, a common one is ‘give them a Bible’. Some may think that vague or something they have learnt to parrot but I see it as a sign that they have an understanding that people get to know God through His Word and knowing the Living Word, Jesus, gives life and hope.
But will they hold fast to that truth as they grow? Will they cling to the Bible as the ultimate authority in their life? I wonder if they’ll remember the conversations we have in class.
Once, after reading about how wisdom is worth more than gold in Proverbs 8, a student asked, ‘Is it okay to want to be rich?’
Another student commented that it might be hard to remember God when you have too much money. That discussion ended with a boy praying, ‘God, please help us, no matter what happens when we grow up, to always make you number one’.
Conversations like that are so special to me, when my students share their thoughts as they wrestle with God’s Word. Will they remember?
My second big question is: Am I teaching my students to merely ‘be good’? With all my years being praised as ‘good’ by my teachers, in no way did that help me understand Jesus’ grace. In fact I thought I was in trouble when I read about Jesus coming for the unrighteous, not the righteous. I thought, ‘What about me? What about righteous me?’ (I was a bit deluded, obviously.)
This question challenged me even more when during Open Day, a parent said to me, ‘I don’t want my children to just learn to be good’. That parent was wanting their children to know Jesus Christ, to be transformed by Jesus Christ.
How much will my students take away from my class?
Am I only teaching them to ‘be good’?
I’d love to hear your thoughts. As for me, God has pointed me to Scripture to comfort and encourage me.
The Parable of the Growing Seed
He also said, ‘This is what the Kingdom of God is like. A man scatters seed on the ground. Night and day, whether he sleeps or gets up, the seed sprouts and grows, though he does not know how. All by itself the soil produces grain – first the stalk, then the head, then the full kernel in the head. As soon as the grain is ripe, he puts the sickle to it, because the harvest has come.’
Jesus doesn’t explain this parable but as this comes after the Parable of the Sower which he does explain, we know the seed to be God’s Word.
How does it grow? ‘Night and day, whether (I) sleep or get up, the seed sprouts and grow, though (I) do not know how’. God brings the growth. I scatter the seed, I show my students my love for God’s Word, give them the time and the tools to enjoy reading and wrestling with it. God brings the growth.
God brings the growth. I scatter the seed, I show my students my love for God’s Word, give them the time and the tools to enjoy reading and wrestling with it. God brings the growth.
How about ‘being good’ vs. being transformed by Jesus? The Bible is full of characters chosen not because they were good but because that was God’s will. As part of our Bible curriculum last term, we Year 3/4 teachers had a chance to share our testimonies to our classes, highlighting that it is by grace we’re saved, not by good works. And it’s by His grace we are changed, little by little every day.
Finally, Ecclesiastes 3:14 tells us, ‘I know that everything God does will endure forever; nothing can be added to it and nothing taken from it. God does it so people will fear him.’
I try and do my best but ultimately, all growth is His.
This business of transforming people? It’s God’s.
What a comfort. What a joy!