I have wanted to be a teacher for as long as I can remember. I remember thinking, “I could can the world, one student at a time!” As a Christian believer, I thought the best and most fun group to teach would be filled with Christians. I never quite realized that this group would be one of the most difficult and challenging atmospheres in which to use my training as a teacher. It has taken years to understand how hard it may have been for Jesus to prepare his disciples for the task at hand, to share the good news of the Gospel .
Time after time Jesus used parables to challenge the thinking of His followers, and, on more than occasion He used the statement, “O you of little faith”.
The people were told a Messiah, their deliverer, was coming. They waited and waited and waited, and, after hundreds of years, Jesus arrived. Despite the years of anticipation and waiting, even the most learned of scholars didn’t believe it was Him . Miracle after miracle was not enough to persuade them that Jesus was who He said he was. Healing everyone in sight, feeding thousands with just a couple loaves of bread and a few fish was not enough. Being scourged, tortured and nailed to a cross was still not enough! Even fulfilling all the prophecies of the Old Testament wasn’t enough to make people believe.
I have come to the conclusion after all my years of teaching in the church that for some people, no matter what I teach, it will never be enough. I watch our pastors and my fellow church workers continue to labor so that more might believe that Jesus came as He said He would, sacrificed himself on the cross and arose from the dead so they could live.
So I am left with this simple yet painful question, “Does what I do as a teacher even really matter?” I have pondered with angst, ”Why even try?” Maybe you have, too.
I think the answer for me has become that I should focus on those who are searching, or those who do believe and want to learn, so that the process of Christian growth, the act of sanctification through the Holy Spirit, continues. I must face the fact, as painfully dreadful as it, that there will always be those people I love and care about who just won’t believe. I keep praying for all of the people God has brought into my life, but I find that my greatest joy as a teacher is seeing the slow movement of growth…evidence of a little more love, a little more grace, and a little more understanding in people’s lives. Slow is good. Just ask the snail!