Dr. Jackie Minor
A Fresh Start
Some might say one of the advantages to being an educator is the opportunity for a fresh start each year while others might say one of the disadvantages to being an educator is the opportunity for a fresh start each year! You see, it doesn’t matter how difficult or how successful the previous year was. We all start over in August!
In short order teachers all around the country will head back to school. It is my guess that many will be looking forward to a fresh start; however, I’m not so naive as to think that everyone will share this feeling. Sometimes we are placed in work settings that are bleak, adversarial and dysfunctional. No amount of positive thinking can erase the reality of our circumstances. And yet, here we are.
Whether our situation looks bright or bleak, we always have the opportunity for a fresh start. As a matter of fact, as Christian educators we are commanded to do our best regardless of the circumstances—good or bad. One of my favorite verses is Colossians 3:23-24. “Whatever you do, do your work heartily, as for the Lord rather than for men; knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance. It is the Lord Christ whom you serve.”
Some might look at this verse and think they have permission to ignore everything from man, but we can’t take this verse out of context. In the previous verse (v. 22) we are told to serve our masters on earth, not by giving lip service, but with a sincere heart because of our reverence for God. The translation in The Message takes it a bit further when it says, “The sullen servant who does shoddy work will be held responsible. Being a follower of Jesus doesn’t cover up bad work.”
As Christian educators, we have a high calling. God has placed us where we are for a reason. God chooses to use us to show others who He is. Sometimes we don’t understand our circumstances, but it doesn’t matter. I constantly have to remind myself of Paul’s charge to believers recorded in Colossians 3:12-14.
You have been chosen of God, holy and beloved, put on a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience, bearing one another, and forgiving each other, whoever has a complaint against anyone, just as the Lord forgave you, so also should you. And beyond all these things put on love, which is the perfect bond of unity and let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body and be thankful.
While I realize Paul was addressing the church, these words apply to us today in every circumstance. Let’s remember we are…
We are called to be…
I know this sounds like a tall order, and it is! But we can’t forget whose we are! God chose YOU. God chose me. He provides all we need to live a life that is honoring to Him and points others to Jesus.
Maybe you need a fresh start when it comes to living out Colossians 3:23-24. I’m thankful we don’t have to wait until August each year to begin again. The faithful love of the Lord never ends! His mercies never cease. Great is his faithfulness; His mercies begin afresh each morning. (Lamentations 3:22-23)
If you are like me, you probably make a lot of “fresh starts.” That’s okay! God is continually transforming us to be more like Him (2 Corinthians 3:18).
What does a fresh start look like? How can we begin a fresh start?
1. Read. God’s Word is our guide. If you don’t have a regular quiet time, this is a first step. Spend time in His Word daily. There are so many resources available. There are numerous online Bible studies as well as Bible studies available on free Bible apps. When asked, I recommend starting with the book of John. Read and journal. Ask yourself, “What is God speaking to me today through His Word?” He promises that when you seek Him, you will find Him. He also tells us His Word will not return void.
2. Pray. Talk to God as you read His Word and throughout the day. Prayer is a conversation where a loving God is listening and speaking. The more time you spend in prayer and Bible study, the more God will speak to you through His Holy Spirit.
3. Obey. What is God telling you to do as a result of your time with Him? Don’t hesitate. Respond in obedience and leave the results up to Him. He is sovereign.
Be encouraged as you begin again!
Remember whose you are and remember whom you serve!
Your rewards will be great.