By the time May rolls around, most educators are hanging on by a thread. As hard as it is to admit, we often find ourselves dreaming of summer—resting, sipping a cool drink by the pool, void of the loud voices that surround us throughout the year. Of course, this may only be a daydream, but it is often what helps us make it to the end of the school year!
During my many years in public schools, I witnessed a variety of approaches to the month of May. It reminds me of watching runners in a marathon. Everyone starts out with tons of energy and excitement. There are ups and downs throughout the course, but toward the end, those in the best shape feel a surge of adrenaline and finish strong. Every step takes them closer to the finish line. Every step matters.
In the same way, May matters. Everyday with students is an opportunity to impact their lives socially, emotionally, and academically. So, how can we be empowered with the energy, power, and persistence it takes to finish strong?
I have no doubt all of us will try hard to push through and do the best we can for our students. We know we are commanded to do everything as if unto the Lord (Colossians 3: 23-24), but we can’t forget, unlike the marathon runner, we have a supernatural energy source. There is just one caveat—we have to plug in. We have to stay connected.
“I am the vine; you are the branches. The one who remains in me—and I in him—bears much fruit because apart from me you can accomplish nothing.´ John 15:5
I love this passage. Jesus is talking to his disciples. He knows what lies ahead of them. He knows they will face a race much more challenging than any marathon. He knows they will have many “Mays”. He knows they cannot be productive (bear fruit) apart from Him. The same is true for us.
If we take a moment and focus on the phrase “remains in me”, much is revealed. Various translations yield a broader picture of what it means for us to “remain” in Jesus.
“… joined to me”
“… lives in me”
“… abides in me”
“… united with me”
There is no doubt about it—our human effort apart from Jesus is futile. We will pass out before the finish line. Yes, we may put in our days and survive May, but we will not thrive. We will not bear fruit. After all, that is what it is all about. The one who remains in me—and I in him—bears much fruit.
While bearing fruit can take many forms depending on our situations, one thing is certain. The Fruit of the Spirit is something all of us can demonstrate every day, as long as we remain in Christ.
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Against such things there is no law. Galatians 5:22-23
Bearing fruit is why we are here, but when we become weary, we don’t always feel “fruitful”. When we are tired—which is every teacher in May—it is difficult to think straight. We often become more emotional and can lose sight of our purpose. If you are exhausted and wondering how you are going to make May matter for your students, hang onto Jesus’ words because (as he clearly states) apart from Him we can do nothing.
May God’s Word and the Holy Spirit fill you with adrenaline as you march through to the end of the school year. May matters!
But those who wait for the Lord’s help find renewed strength; they rise up as if they had eagles’ wings, they run without growing weary, they walk without getting tired. Isaiah 40:31