Building a Spiritual Family
A few years back when I first started this ministry, I remember receiving a message from a teacher thanking me. She explained as a Christian educator that she felt very alone. I want to share with you what she said.
Thank you so much for starting this ministry. I feel so alone in my school. Teaching has become increasingly difficult with so many administrative changes. I feel I have no one to talk to that can really understand. It is hard not to get discouraged. I need something like this. Thank you!
This broke my heart. I couldn’t help but wonder how many other educators felt the same. As a result, it has made me even more passionate about this ministry. As Christian educators, we must find a way to encourage, support, and lift each other up. Our job is so important. I can’t think of a more noble secular profession than pouring into the lives of young people. We give them so much more than just book smarts. We have the privilege of showing them how to care, how to treat others, how to work hard, and how to become all God created them to be. Let’s keep in mind, however, that teaching isn’t done in a vacuum. It takes a community of people working together to navigate today’s educational waters, and it is much easier when some of those people are believers!
As Tony Evans says, “We weren’t meant to be Lone Ranger Christians.” All throughout Scripture we are instructed to support the body of believers. We are called upon to…
Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility consider one another as more important than yourselves; do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others. Philippians 2:3-4
He sat down, called the twelve disciples over to him, and said, “Whoever wants to be first must take last place and be the servant of everyone else.” Mark 9:35
So encourage each other and build each other up, just as you are already doing. 1 Thessalonians 5:11
So now I am giving you a new commandment: Love each other. Just as I have loved you, you should love each other. John 13:34
Let me ask you something. Do you know who the Christians are in your workplace? If so, have you sought them out? Have you talked to them about your faith? Have you offered to pray with them? Have you asked about how God is working in their lives? Do you know where they go to church? Do you know about their background?
God strategically orchestrates the intersection of our lives with others. If we can agree that we need each other, then we are going to have to be more purposeful in getting to know others on a spiritual level. We must be more intentional in our efforts to honor, serve, encourage, and love them! I have to admit this has not been a strength area for me. As I look back over my career, I am ashamed to admit I didn’t do this very often. I usually could tell who the other Christians were in my workplace, but we kept our relationships at a superficial level. “How are you doing?” “Fine, thanks!” “How was church Sunday?” “Great!”
I often wonder if we let our worldly differences (e.g., hobbies, family structure, culture) get in the way of spiritual connectedness. The Bible tells us, “There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” (Galatians 3:28) You see, we don’t have to be “alike” to bond with another believer. In Matthew 12 Jesus says whoever does the will of his Father is our brother and sister. When we trust in Christ, we have a new extended family! However, just as is the case with our biological family, relationships must be cultivated.
I truly believe God places people in our spiritual family for a reason. The other day I was talking to my youngest daughter. She had been praying for God to confirm something in her life for several months. One day she simply said, “God, do whatever it takes! Use others if needed to show me what you want. I need clarity!” That very afternoon she was having a conversation with a colleague. Lo and behold, God answered her prayer through the counsel of a fellow believer. She was stunned and couldn’t wait to call and tell me what had happened.
Now just imagine if her colleague had been too busy to stop and talk to her. Could God have used another means to communicate with her? Absolutely. However, I am here to tell you the relationship between her and this colleague was forever changed. She feels connected and supported and will no doubt seek out this person again. (Side note. The very same day another conversation occurred with another fellow believer in her workplace. God once again affirmed His answer. Isn’t He AMAZING?)
As I thought about these interactions, I realized how important it is for us to purposefully seek out and nurture spiritual friendships in the workplace. I don’t want any Christian educator to feel alone and isolated like the teacher I mentioned in the beginning of this blog.
If you happen to teach in a building with a fellow believer(s), you are blessed! Prayerfully consider the relationships you have with your spiritual family members. Who is God placing on your heart to pursue a relationship with? I want to challenge you to identify at least one person you will be purposeful about getting to know. As imperfect as we all are, there is nothing like a Christian friend who loves Jesus! Let’s speak truth into the lives of others within our sphere of influence. You never know if God will use you to be the answer to someone’s prayer!
If you are feeling alone and isolated, I would encourage you to pray fervently for God to show you someone in your workplace whom you can approach. It doesn’t have to be a teacher or an administrator. It could be anyone who works in the building. It could be a volunteer or even a parent of one of your students!
Last week’s blog was about having someone to talk to. While God should be our main go-to, I strongly believe the Holy Spirit also uses Christian brothers and sisters to guide, support, and encourage us. There IS someone there for you! Building our spiritual families takes time, patience, and persistence. Let’s be purposeful as we seek to be victorious Christian educators! Our work is too important!
Finally, brothers, rejoice. Aim for restoration, comfort one another, agree with one another, live in peace; and the God of love and peace will be with you. 2 Corinthians 13:11