I’m not a runner. Like at all. I really try to love running, but long distance just isn’t my thing. Recently though, I started thinking about how the Bible relates the Christian life to a race in terms of a team relay vs a one person race. Hebrews 12:1-2 says that we should throw off everything that weighs us down and “run with endurance the race that is set before us…”
As I enterned my 5th school yeah at Manantial, it had me thinking about the generations of students who have passed through my classroom throughout the years. And the classes that I’ve watched grow from elementary school to now starting high school!
We, as teachers, love our students and pour our hearts into every group of students that we have— sharing with them “not only the gospel of God but our lives as well” (1 Thessalonians 2:8). Then they leave us and contiue on to the next set of teachers, just as they came to us the years before. This reminded me of a relay race—how each runner gives their all, but it counts for nothing without the other runners on their team.
I remember the feeling that I had at the end of last school year with a class that was so special to me. I began to worry about them as they went on to the middle school… what if they don’t connect with their new teachers? What if they forget all that I taught them? Who will invest in their spiritual growth? Will they fade into the background as the “little kids” of the middle school?
And it hit me that I was placing so much emphasis on their time in the classroom with me, that I was loosing sight of what my role actually was. Did I really believe that it’s God who works in their hearts, or me? That it depends on my faithfulness or His?
One of the most freeing and humbling things about being on a team, is that it reminds you that it’s not about you. It’s not about the one school year in your classroom, but rather the collective 13 or so years in the classrooms of faithful saints, committed together to seeing the kingdom come in the lives of these students day after day, year after year. And even in our shortcomings, God is the one who faithfully carries them. He uses each of us in our daily lives of faithfulness to sow seeds of the Gospel that will far outlast our students’ year with us in the classroom. I trust that my time with each group of students that I have is just one part of God’s grander story for them, as He is at work in their lives.
So I run with endurance, faithfully loving and sharing the life-giving truth of Jesus with each student that comes into my classroom, trusting that God is in the hand-off as they are passed on to the next faithful teacher, just as they were passed off to me the year before. God is faithful. God is at work.