I have given up. The white flag has been raised. I worked so hard to keep away the pests, disease, deer, and other harmful critters. The weather didn’t cooperate either. It feels as if my efforts to prepare, plant, and harvest produce from my garden have been in vain. Why even bother with gardening anymore?
Sometimes it is tempting to have a similar attitude as we face another year in the Sunday school classroom. So much labor is involved—preparing lessons, worship songs, special activities, and more. And yet, even in our pray-soaked diligence, we know that some children and youth will seem uninterested in the truths of Scripture. They may even appear indifferent to our earnest calls for them to “repent and believe in the Gospel.” Or, while demonstrating a genuine trust in Christ, we may feel disappointed by their lack spiritually maturity and slow pace of growth. Does that mean our labor is in vain?
Here is a verse filled with hope:
Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain. (1 Corinthians 15:58, ESV)
…in the Lord your labor is not in vain!
“In the Lord”—
- Trusting in His sovereign goodness
- Being confident that He loves our students more than we do
- Believing that He alone has the power to bring about new life
- Knowing that we are called to be faithful to “sow and water”—faithfully teaching and explaining the truths of the Bible—while depending on God to give the growth
- Teaching from a heart that is filled with joy in Christ
- Prepared to share the hope that is within us
- Always mindful that everything we say and do in the classroom should reflect the greatness and worth of God, His majestic holiness!
Will any of us demonstrate this perfectly in our classrooms this year? No, but the God who calls us IS perfectly faithful to complete His sovereign will. That difficult, uninterested, indifferent, 8-year-old boy might just grow up to be an extraordinary man of faith 30 years down the road.
So, labor hard “in the Lord” in your classroom this year, and don’t give up. In the Lord, our earnest but imperfect teaching skills, worship leading, and small group discussions are not in vain. I fully believe that in the future—maybe not until heaven—we will be amazed to see the harvest that God was pleased to bring about through the grace-dependent efforts in our Sunday school classrooms.
(Image courtesy of radnatt at FreeDigitalPhotos.net.)