You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. Let your light shine before men, (students, colleagues, administrators, parents!) that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven!
Before I taught where I teach now, I taught in a really dark place. My first year I taught at a boarding school...it was awful, guys. Yes, there were the typical behavior issues and drug abuse and entitlement that you’d expect at a $20,000 per year boarding school. But it was the lies, manipulation, mismanagement and shady dealings that made for a really. tough. year.
Coincidentally, the school was located near the site of the 1960 Olympic Games and I drove by the burning Olympic Torch on my way to school every morning. And one fall morning, as I drove by the torch, God planted that verse in my head. It rooted down deep quick and became my motto that year. I’d repeat every morning on my way into work, digging up the courage to face the day. It was the verse I would mull over when things got really dark. Just like the Olympic torch that burns regardless of the weather or time of day, God was reminding me to shine bright, especially in dark places.
God chose us to teach. He set us in our classrooms and hand picked the kiddos in our care. You might teach in a Christian school, and if you do, preach on! But if you find yourself in a public school (like me!) ‘preach on’ is not an option… so what do we do?! Shine on! Shine the light of Jesus in dark places. Don’t tell your students that Jesus loves them… show them how Jesus loves them.
God put his light in you, and put you on a stand, in front of a whole classroom of kiddos. And as the bible tells us, we are to give light to everyone in the room. You can’t ignore that kind of light! And just like when you flip on light switch, it makes no noise but makes a big difference, that’s how we Christian public school teachers are: silent but mighty!
And boy do our kiddos need some light in their dark, dark lives. I hear stories about my students that break my heart…I’m sure you know about the tough stuff your little darlings are enduring right now. And I’m certain that what we know is just the tip of the iceberg. I’m afraid there’s so much more heartbreaking pain that we are totally unaware of. Let your classroom be a bright spot in their lives. Welcome them into a safe place where Jesus’ light shines!
Let your students and colleagues and administrators and parents see that light that his illuminated in you. Let them see your integrity. Let them see how you treat ‘the least of these’. Show them that you’re playing by a different play book, that there’s something curiously different about you.
But…. a light bulb is worthless until it’s plugged in. You can’t shine if you’re disconnected from the source! We’ve got to tend to our relationship with Jesus so we can shine brightly.
Plug yourself in and shine bright!
But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, Gods’ special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light!
1 Peter 2:9
Spend some time with Jesus. What are the qualities you most love in Him that you’d like your kiddos to see in you? Ask Jesus to manifest those qualities in you and pray that your kiddos will notice them!