Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Purpose and Power

Two sermon messages have come together in my life.

The first message I listened to was online last spring by Andy Stanley. He was talking about power and giving away the power that each of us has. Jesus had all the power in the world - He was the creator of the world and just by speaking He could wipe us off this planet. Yet, he submitted to being a finite being in a tiny world to save people that didn't even know they needed being saved - myself included. He used His power for those without power - mainly us.

The second message I heard was at our church this past week. It wasn't a new topic, but mostly God's timing. The message was about purpose and finding yours. It wasn't so much about finding God's Will - which always seems so ambiguous to me - but discovering what the Creator made you to do. Each item we use is designed for a specific purpose - the oven for baking, the dishwasher for washing dishes, etc. But isn't it odd when we hear these items used for something different? For example, I heard on the radio that you could use your dishwasher to cook lutefisk (like sardines - a Norwegian thing). Why would someone do that? Is that what we are doing with our lives? Trying to do things in our lives that God did not create us to do? Don't created things work best when they do what they were created/designed to do? I have been turning this idea over in my mind - hoping that teaching and being a good mom and wife is all in God's design for me.

I am grateful when I see what I believe is God speaking to me. This past week I had a student cheat on a test and the big cumulative project in my class. As a result, he would get a zero on both items and probably fail the class. This does not bring me any joy. It saddens me when I make that phonecall home and have to explain to the parents. The parents requested a meeting with the dean (principal). The meeting occurred last night. I wasn't sure what to do. I was fairly certain that this student did not do the work on the project - and I was positive about the test (student even admitted to copying part of the test).

This is where the past sermon messages and God's Word played a significant role. I had the power and even the support of the dean to give the student a zero. Yet, would that help this particular student? Sometimes the answer to this question would be yes. My original purpose for being a christian teacher in a public school was to be a role model. How could I do that in this situation? I want the young men in my classroom to leave with integrity and honesty. So, I am praying that I used my power to help and not enable this student. I offered him grace - the same grace that is offered me every day for my sins - to complete the project as if he never cheated. It was extremely humbling for me to step down and forgive, even though I had every "right" to punish. My heart is changed today by just glimpsing the power of that forgiveness. It helped me to see that I do have purpose in the classroom - it is in moments like this that can make all the difference. At least that is my prayer.

Thanks for reading

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