September is here and, for us in New York state, this is the first week of classes. If you live in another part of the country, school may have already started. Anyway, today my thoughts are turning to teachers and students. Our family fulfills these two roles well. We have six grandchildren as students. Our son is a classroom teacher who is just completing his year as New York Teacher of the Year and is still having amazing doors open for him within the field of education. Both our daughter and daughter-in-law have taught school and are currently involved with volunteering in the elementary schools where their children attend. Our son-in-law is a part-time pastor who teaches from the pulpit. Are not teacher and preacher similar words with only different letters at the beginning? I have taught in various capacities over the years and my husband also taught school for a year. That is enough educators for one family! However, today I am expanding the roles of teachers and students from a broader perspective.
Several years ago an important statement was made to me: “Everyone is a teacher.” Hmmm. That leads me to come to another conclusion: “If everyone is a teacher, then everyone must be a student.” I want to develop these two statements from two different viewpoints. First, if everyone is a teacher of mine, then I am everyone’s student. Secondly, if everyone is a student of mine, then I am a teacher to everyone.
If everyone is a teacher,
then I am everyone’s student.
My stepsister-in-law, Karleen, is the person I have heard say, “Everyone is a teacher.” She would often make this comment about two older parents for whom we had mutual love and concern. We might shake our heads as we observed some of the opinions and actions of her mother-in-law and my dad, but then Karleen would bring our focus back to the proper mindset by saying, “Everyone is a teacher!” Yes, these two specific people, and everyone else around me, is a teacher from whom I have the privilege to learn. The older generation has more wisdom to share with me than I might want to give them credit for. I also can learn from the younger generation as our grandchildren are teachers of mine as well. Both the irresistible and the irritating mannerisms of people can be teaching tools if I have the proper attitude. I want to remember that every person I come in contact with is either teaching me something I want to do or something I do not want to do. I want to embrace wisdom and knowledge and common sense from the teachers God has placed in my life.
For the Spirit teaches you everything you need to know,
and what he teaches is true—it is not a lie.
I John 2:27 NLT
My best teacher, the Holy Spirit, lives within me! I want to quote John Bevere from his weekly devotion on August 8, 2013 entitled “Welcome Him as Your Teacher.” He writes, “The Holy Spirit plays many roles in our lives, but probably His greatest role is that of Teacher. He is always teaching us something….Scripture is the timeless textbook of the Spirit. God’s Word is the record of God’s thoughts. To think like Him, talk like Him, and act like Him, we need His Word—and we need to understand it. That’s the job of our Teacher: to lead us and guide us into all truth, unfolding the meaning of the scriptures we need, right when we need them.” The Holy Spirit is my favorite teacher. I want to learn from Him and teach like Him!
If everyone is a student,
then I am everyone’s teacher.
My last statement is the perfect transition for me to think about how I am everyone’s teacher. I realize that I feel more responsibility being the teacher compared to being the student! I desire to have a positive influence upon my family and friends. How can I be the best teacher God wants me to be? Am I portraying teachable traits and visible virtues to inspire those God has placed in my life to be followers of Christ? What knowledge has God imparted to me that I can share with others?
Jesus says, “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations,
baptizing them in the name of the Father
and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,
and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.”
Matthew 28: 19-20 NIV
What Jesus said to his disciples, He still says to me today. He specifically tells me to teach what I have been taught by His Spirit who lives in me. Going to all nations suggests to me that I am to be a teacher everywhere I go. He is telling me to be a witness, or a teacher, for Him by the life I daily live. The people who are a part of my life are the students God has entrusted to me. I desire to be the best teacher possible with God’s help.
In conclusion, everyone is a teacher and everyone is a student! My Reader, you and I do not need to be involved with education inside the four walls of a school building to be teachers and students. The world is our classroom. Actually, we are fulfilling these two roles whether we comprehend it or not. Every person I come in contact with is teaching me something I want to do or something I do not want to do. In this sense, I am their student. Every person I come in contact with is learning from me something they want to embrace or something they want to avoid in their own thoughts and actions. In this respect, I am their teacher. It is September and formal required education has begun, but teaching and learning never stop. My Reader, are you a student who is following the leading of the Holy Spirit as your best teacher? Are you an exemplary teacher throughout your area of influence in the eye of God? What kind of grade would receive as a student? In which role are you most comfortable?
Challenge for the week: Be aware of how you are a teacher and how you are a student. Pray especially for the teachers and students involved with formal education during the 2013-2014 year.