(Our last readers’ favorite comes from our purpose series. Let’s join together in teaching for the honor of the Name above all names!)
Teaching is not a job or a livelihood. It’s not a key, tool, or platform. It’s not a means of unlocking closed doors or making inroads into limited access locations. We may be gifted at it, but it’s not simply an inborn talent or five or ten. And it’s certainly not a glorification of self. It’s something we do with all our heart as if working for Yahweh rather than people. After all, the Master Teacher IS the one we’re serving. Teaching is the whatever we do all for His glory.
Teaching for His glory is an act of obedience. It’s a determination to learn well to teach well to excel professionally to help our students. It’s not drudgery we put up with so that we can get to the real work of soul resuscitation. It’s drudgery we perform willingly, carefully, even cheerfully if possible—in spite of the 50 papers to mark. It’s death to self. We deny self, the desire to be at the center, to expend ourselves on something else; we take up our cross—the 50 papers to mark (Yes, I loathe grading. For you it may be something else.); and we follow the Master Teacher down a sometimes rugged path, on and on, into excellence.
Teaching for His glory is also an offering of praise. Praise is often an outpouring of our pleasure. There’s thrill in the chase when learners finally “get it,” an activity succeeds, or we grade the final paper. Praise can also be a natural welling up of passion. When I was studying Chinese, one of my tutors, completely unlike me, was delighted one day to be asked to correct an assignment. First, though, she requested a red pen and then attacked my homework with zeal. (Don’t worry there was a lot of laughter in the process.) My passion, dare I admit, is lesson planning. I love the challenge of creating activities and figuring out how to teach without teaching.
An offering of praise is easy when we find pleasure or passion in the process. But praise is also purposeful, purposefully built on submission. No matter the circumstances, outside pressure, or length of the wait, obedience is always better than sacrifice. Submission to the drudgery of grading (or…You fill in the blank.) takes precedence over the fat of even soul pursuit. In fact, an act of obedience—in spite—may be the most pleasing praise we can offer.
Why do we teach for His glory? It’s not for us. We fight the battle against pride. We struggle, but we know in our heads and yearn with our hearts to love our students as ourselves and yield our rights to their needs. We obey because it reaps good fruit. We praise, through passion and submission, because it points to another. “Not my will but Yours be done…to Your glory,” we say, sometimes through gritted teeth. Then our hard won excellence in the classroom thrills as it becomes a grand reflection of the Master Teacher.
Even if learners don’t “get it,” not one leper returns, and lost stays lost, there’s yet a because greater than any other. Act of obedience or offering of praise, our teaching has an audience of but one. He sits on a throne above the above while teachers cast their crowns at His feet crying, “We teach at and for Your pleasure.” He stands at our side, bearing the load, interceding for us with words at times unutterable, “As You wish.”
Whatever you do, in the classroom or at your desk, drudgery or pleasure, determination or passion, all for His glory! For King—first, most—and for Kingdom!
1 Corinthians 10:31
1 Samuel 13:7-14; 15:1-34
What’s your perspective?
What does teaching for the Master Teacher’s glory mean to you?