Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Reaping What You Sow

Everyday I make sure to spend some time with God and I usually like to change things up.  I don't want it to feel like homework or going to class but a time to grow in worship and learn more about my savior Jesus Christ.  So today I decided to listen to James MacDonald's Walk in the Word.  I listened to Part 1 of a two part podcast entitled "Laws of the Harvest".  I highly suggest you go check it out!  He offers insight into warnings from the Bible and how to apply these principles to our daily lives.

As you would expect given the title, the podcast was about the truth of reaping and sowing.  It focused on a passage from Galatians 6.

Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. 
A man reaps what he sows. 
Whoever sows to please their flesh, from the flesh will reap destruction; whoever sows to please the Spirit, 
from the Spirit will reap eternal life. 
Let us not become weary in doing good, 
for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. 
10 Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, 
especially to those who belong to the family of believers.

This passage and podcast really hit home to me.  What are we sowing into our lives?  More importantly, what are we sowing into the lives of our students?

I know there have been times where I've been caught up in my own selfish circumstances or instances where I've been frustrated or even angered by students.  And my reactions and interactions with them show it.  But it's so important for us to always remember that we are sowing into their lives every day.  
We see them for at least 40 minutes 5 days every week.

It is our responsibility as both Christians and teachers to sow into them the traits that we wish them to exhibit on their own.  The text says that "whatever" we sow, we shall reap. So what is it that you should sow? MacDonald suggests awareness of choices in forgiveness, love, time, attitude and acceptance of Christ.  While the last of those choices is one that has blurry lines for the public classroom, the rest are choices that we can and should model for our students.
  • Forgiveness.  Forgive them for making mistakes.   Don't hold it against them.  Whether they're younger or in college, they're still children.
  • Love.  Be loving and kind toward them.  We have no idea their home situation.  There's a sad chance that we are the only ones that interact with them in a positive way.  If this is the case, shouldn't we take every opportunity to love them, be kind to them, and be gracious to them? 
  • Time.  We want them to make wise choices with their time.  If that's the case, we must effectively use our own time in the classroom. Show them what it means to use time efficiently.  Then, give them tools to learn how to manage their time.  They might not know!
  • Attitude.  Don't be apathetic.  Be caring.  Be interactive.  Be communicative and cooperative.  These are all traits we wish that others around us would exhibit.  We must sow these into their lives as well as our own.  For more ways to show positive attitudes, see my post on Showing Grace to Students
  • Acceptance of Christ.  As mentioned above, this one is more murky. Remember, though, that if a student brings up questions about faith, religion, or spirituality, we are more than welcome to discuss those questions.  Be open to having those conversations in class and encourage those conversations.  As always, we need to be mindful of those with various views.  Including these different view points makes for a more complex conversation too!  If we want to encourage civic and cultural awareness, how better than these conversations?  In being open to talk about it in class, students will be more apt to come to us in private if they have more personal questions.
With all of this in mind, we have to remember that reaping and sowing don't happen all together.  Sowing happens seasons before the reaping... so if we are truly modeling all of these characteristics, it might take some time before we see the reaping in our students.  Keep at it though!  Just as Paul writes in Galatians, "Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up."

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