I wanted to be a teacher. Growing up, my mother was a teacher. My wife is a teacher. My grandmother is currently serving on a school board in Warren County. I’ve spent a lot of time with teachers! I believe that investing in young people while enabling them to achieve, and hopefully exceed, their academic goals is one of the most significant things that one can choose to do in this world. In fact, I can’t imagine a more important secular career. Educators are literally shaping and investing in the future of our society every single day. And before we go any further, let’s just clarify that teachers have a summer break (which they don’t get paid during) because they do more than a year’s worth of work in less than ten months. To be a good teacher, much like a good minister, you have to understand that you’re not always going to immediately see the fruit of what you do. But to stick with it, I believe that you have to understand that you are making an immeasurable difference in the lives of your students.
The fact that you’re reading this article obviously means that I’m not a teacher, in the traditional sense. Before my senior year of High School, when I was a seventeen year old student at Short Mountain Bible Camp, I decided to go into youth ministry. After serving at three congregations, I can tell you that the years that I’ve been in ministry have consisted of some of the most rewarding, challenging, surprising, exciting, depressing, nerve-racking, and uplifting (as well as just about every other “-ing” adjective that you can imagine) experiences of my life. This career is absolutely not for everyone, but I can’t think of anyone more blessed than I am. I wouldn’t trade these experiences for anything. My hope is that at the end of my life, God will have used me to make a difference in this world and to draw people close to Jesus.
I strongly encourage you to highlight, underline, and memorize James’ words in James 3:1: “Not many of you should become teachers, my fellow believers, because you know that we who teach will be judged more strictly.” This is a warning and a sobering reminder about the significance that is found in what we do as Bible class teachers. Not to sound dramatic, but there are eternal ramifications involved in this. As Bible teachers, we are transporting students to the feet of and teaching them to wholly depend on the only One who is able to provide the guidance, comfort, and spiritual forgiveness that their souls desperately need. We don’t always see the consequence of what we do (cf. Mt. 13; 1 Cor. 3:6), but rest assured, God is using your life in ways that you can’t imagine. What you do means more than you know.