.::Rabbi & Other Ramblings to Start School

As the new school year gets out of the starting gate I am overwhelmed at the Calling of teaching. There is something tremendously spiritual about what God calls all teachers to do. It is a powerful responsibility to shape, teach, show, reveal new things to a student. The whole endeavor of learning is such a gift and an opportunity for the student (& teacher). I remind my students every semester that just the fact they are sitting in a college classroom puts them in the top 1% of the WORLD.  Therefore, as a professor, I feel all the more responsibility to “live a life worthy of the calling you have received.” James doesn’t help out when he says, “Not many of you should become teachers, my fellow believers, because you know that we who teach will be judged more strictly. ”

I take comfort in the fact that teaching is a calling from God.  Jesus was called teacher/Rabbi.  I believe that the nature of teaching is at its core a spiritual activity.  There is something special that happens when a teacher gets you excited about a topic and really taps into your soul and passion for a subject.  I remember Dr. Parks who taught my freshman history class in high school actually getting me excited about WWI.  I couldn’t wait for second period where Sheryl Beatty taught my Biology II class senior year and I was passionate about the living world.  I will never forget my American History professor at Texas A&M that brought the Civil War ALIVE for me.  The list can go on and on from Dr. Thompson at ICS and the Book of Acts, Dr. Hughes and Resotration History at Pepperdine, to Dr. Thompsons with John and Patristic & Reformation Theology at Fuller and  Dr. Clark at Fuller showing me a radically new way to look at and approach youth ministry.  These are all courses where the world of God opened my eyes and soul to injustice, wisdom, calling, vision, grace, hope, creativity, wonder, anger, fear, peace . . .  What could not be spiritual about this?

I firmly believe that you don’t have to be in a Bible class to experience the power of God revealed.  Quadratic equations have allowed me to  see God’s masterful design of the universe when I look at something as mundane as a hole in a water bottle.  (After all I am a nerd at heart).  Pi has shown me infinity and beyond as I imagine God coming up with the idea in the first place.  Without teachers showing me some of these things, I would never have learned to be in so much awe and wonder of our Creator.  So thank you teachers.

I realize that the educational system is much maligned, criticized and complained about.  Nevertheless, what a teacher gets to do in front of a classroom is to shape the hearts and minds of young people–Wow!  Yes there is grading and administrative frustrations, and parents, and other things that get in the way.  But at the very heart of it–the teacher/student relationship and the activity to teaching and learning is a powerful activity.  What I am trying to say is that I am the luckiest person in the world to GET to do this job.  To get to live out this calling.  So for those of you in different careers, the calling is the same for you.  What you get to do is a spiritual activity when you are living out a life in the way that God shaped you as you crunch numbers, stock shelves, attend class, write briefs, landscape yards, take care of a home, clean teeth, fix bones, serve customers, fly jets, drive cabs, etc.  There is something spiritual in all careers, I pray you get to see that today.


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