Recently I had the chance to meet some teachers from my old school where I started fifty years ago. What a blast from the past! I have begun reflecting on my school days – which seem to have shaped much of my adult thinking (some good –some not so good). Two teachers particularly stand out.
My first teacher at the school was a lady I remember as roundish with loosely curly hair and glasses. I can’t think of much more to describe her, the class details, or my friends. However, I do remember the absolute feeling of being regularly encouraged and her warm acceptance of me. It is a good memory that made me feel noticed, of value and liked for who I was (not who I should be like).
My other teacher that stands out was my biology teacher for the last three years of my school career. She was strict, and reluctant learners were afraid of her. The only children that took her class were the ones that really enjoyed it, or the ones who had to. However, it was in this class that I learned, and gleaned a real passion for the natural sciences. She encouraged experiments, brought into class real animals and plants for us to observe, to touch and to explore with. White flowers in her class turned half blue and half pink under her instruction with a jar of water and some food colouring. She wasn’t afraid of mess, spills, fails – it was all part of the learning - just as long as we learned something.
I could go on and on, but what I do know for certain is that she birthed in me a passion for the natural sciences that trained me in my life journey. While I am no longer working in the same field, I still have the same enthusiasm for (and interest in) nature in all its forms.
When I read today’s passage, I was struck by the last line – of being a person that is passionate and zealous for living a life filled with beneficial deeds that spring from an understanding of the great love of Jesus. I thought back upon these two dear teachers. The one who made me feel accepted, understood and nurtured, and the other whose passion for her topic was contagious. Looking again at the scriptures, in verse 11, it says that we are trained by His grace that unmerited favour and blessing. As we receive the training, we also recognise that all the messes, spills and fails have been paid for (and are able to be cleaned up and made right) by Jesus and the price He paid for us.
I have been so deeply blessed by a fresh realisation of His kindness, His love and acceptance for me – even though I mess up and fail. Yet He continues to train this “wretched man that I am” (Paul in Romans 7) with patience and a zeal that is contagious. He does this so that we should go on to do greater things, things that benefit those around us – that make people notice the salt and the light in this dark world. Father God wants us to walk in ever-increasing freedom to be who He made us to be for His glory.
How will the dark world filled with ungodly beliefs and passions that only bring destruction ever know there is a better way? Only by our being the difference, the salt, the light passionate for others to know His kindness, His acceptance, and in His forgiving love to receive His training through what Jesus has already accomplished.
Prayer: Father God, thank You that You are so loving and patient towards us, and that You train us by Your grace into all righteousness. As I receive a fresh revelation about Your kindness, I pray that the knowledge of Your grace will inspire a fresh zeal in me. All this for Your glory, Jesus. Amen.