At one time, the song “Jesus Can Work It Out” was a staple in many churches. The lyrics harken to a time when toes tapped, hands clapped and hearts yielded. In those lyrics, the songwriter lets us know the problem he had, the pain that would not move, the habit he had. The songwriter turned it all over to Jesus, and Jesus worked it out.
There are days when educators need to know Jesus can work it out.
How do I know Jesus can work it out? Because Jesus is no respecter of persons (Acts 10:34, KJV).
How do I know Jesus can work it out? Because Jesus is in the “work it out” business, and he has been in the “work it out” business since the beginning of time. According to Genesis 1:1, “God created, by forming from nothing, the heavens and the earth” (Genesis 1:1, Amplified). In that same chapter of Genesis, we are told God created us in his image, giving us creative ability (Genesis 1:26).
The Creator’s creative capacity in educators
I recently was reminded of the sheer ingenuity and creative prowess of educators who exemplify the image of Christ in their teaching. Though not in the way God does, these educators have a way of forming something from nothing, especially those on the front lines of education—the classroom.
These teachers create lesson plans, activities and assessments as a means for creating opportunities for students to see themselves as successful. These teachers create and provide stable and orderly environments for students, some of whom lack stability outside of school. These teachers create an atmosphere where teaching and learning can go forth uninhibited.
Speaking on the idea of God’s creative purpose captured in Genesis 1, Pastor Michael A. Evans teaches us God is a God of order. God does things in a particular manner for particular reasons. There is no accident or coincidence with God. God works in a similar manner with our lives. We are here for a reason. God has a purpose for each of us; we are no accident.
Likewise, teachers’ lessons have purpose tied to a bigger picture. While some teachers see end-of-year testing as the bigger picture, many Christian educators see their daily work as serving both an academic and a spiritual purpose. Each day, these educator’s creative capacity allows them to be like Jesus and “work it out” in the lives of students through the power of Christ.
Because of God in you, there is always light
Then God said, “Let there be light-bearers (sun, moon, stars) in the expanse of the heavens to separate the day from the night, and let them be useful for signs (tokens) [of God’s provident care], and for marking seasons, days, and years (Genesis 1:14, Amplified)
Pastor Evans also teaches us God is directing and navigating the lives of his children. Even their troubles are for a reason. Just as God “separated the day from the night” (Genesis 1:14), God allows trials in our lives for a reason. God spoke, and nothing from God is spoken by happenstance. The events and trials in our lives are “useful for signs (tokens) [of God’s provident care].”
When preparing students for standardized tests, we teach them to be wary of questions and answers stating something is always or never the case. Nothing is always or never the case—except with God. God is always with us, and God will never leave nor forsake us (Matthew 8:20, Deuteronomy 31:6). In his way and in his time, God provides us with light-bearers, who can “work it out.”
I am constantly in awe of teachers who bear the light year after year like stars in the sky. Despite the ups and downs in education, the rhetoric from those outside education and people who suggest they can do education better, despite the dark all around, these educators bear the light and push forward.
I encourage these educators to know if God allowed the dark of negativity, if God wants to use these dark situations of education as a sign to demonstrate the light of his wise and prudent care, then let it be so. Just as God created light in the dark to mark seasons, days and years, the dark and the light in education serves a good purpose.
In turn, when you bear the light, you are a powerful sign for children, youth and adults in dark times. Because God is in you, there will always be light for students who may not see it anywhere else but when at school with you.
The kingdom significance of educators
Teachers, as you work in the likeness of your Creator, my prayer is you will know with full confidence you can make something from nothing in Jesus’ name. And like your heavenly Father, I pray you will see the work of your hands and heart and know “it is good.”
Lisa M. Rainey, Ph.D., is an experienced educator. She and her husband, Daniel, are members of Bethlehem Baptist Church in Mansfield, Texas. She applies Sunday’s sermon and Wednesday’s word by Pastor Michael A. Evans, senior pastor of Bethlehem Baptist Church to issues of education.