It's been a very LONG and COLD winter in Minnesota! But it's starting to feel like spring might actually come at long last. To celebrate and anticipate the coming of warmer weather, my friend Linda and I put in an order for flower seeds. It was great fun to look at all the beautiful varieties to choose from and then narrow down our selections. We are both avid gardeners! While waiting for the seeds to arrive in the mail, I got everything else ready to start them growing inside: pots, seed starting mix, lighting system, etc. Two days ago the seeds arrived in the mail, and I dropped everything else that I was doing to sit down and just look
and each packet of seeds. (I know that sounds weird to some of you.) But soon some of my joyful anticipation turned to worry...because each packet of seeds comes with very specific instructions for "ideal conditions" for germination and growth. Some of these conditions seem impossible to meet in my less-than-ideal basement turned amateur greenhouse. It almost seems like a lost cause—why even bother?
But then I remember from past experience: Some seeds don't sprout, even under the most optimal conditions. Many seeds still sprout under less-than-ideal conditions.
That's how I sometimes feel as a teacher. At the beginning of the year, I feel so excited and eager to teach wonderful, life-giving, truths from the Bible, anticipating children responding in true faith with signs of spiritual fruit and growth. But then, as the weeks progress, I see that am not an "ideal" teacher, and my classroom situation isn't always at its best either. Sometimes it seems as if the children are more interested in the morning's simple graham cracker treat than a great, well-taught Bible lesson.
But then I remember:
So neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything, but only God who gives the growth. (1 Corinthians 3:7, ESV)
Yes, teachers should strive to create the most ideal conditions for growth in their students: Presenting children with Bible-saturated, God-centered, Christ-exalting, faith encouraging, teaching all done in a loving, serious, and yet child-friendly manner. But when all is said and done, God is the One who ultimately and decisively gives the growth...and He often does it under our less-than-ideal conditions!
For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be glory forever. Amen. (Romans 11:36, ESV)
(Image courtesy of Amenic181 at FreeDigitalPhotos.net.)