Blessings of Hope
We speak, not in words taught us by human wisdom but in words taught by the Spirit, explaining spiritual realities (1 Corinthians 2:12-14).
I love teaching literature, and when my students respond and learn to like reading and writing, and give me new ideas about things I’ve read a hundred times, I get really, really excited. It’s just fun.
In my classes we read a lot of cool stuff that provokes deep thinking, like Kate Chopin on marriage, Tolstoy on faith, and Langston Hughes on race. We read poetry about growing up, isolation, love, and death. And we usually do a reader’s theater with either a Shakespearean comedy or a Greek tragedy. I love digging into these works of art and mining the insights they offer.
I believe that knowledge is empowering in the natural sense. It’s great when my students are able to carve out better lives for themselves and their families as a result of going to school. I get completely choked up when I see one of my students “make it,” like a single mom on welfare who recently graduated and found a job that uses her talents and pays her bills.
However, for all that’s great about literature and knowledge, it will only take a person so far. Without Jesus, it’s empty.
The deepest joy I have as a teacher is when I get to speak blessings of hope into the lives of my students and co-workers. I’ve found that all I have to do is show up and God will send someone by with a need. Yesterday it was a co-worker who was worried about her daughter. I was able to listen and offer a verse that the Lord brought to mind.
Other times I don’t even have to show up. A student called me at home today and apologized for having to miss class. She asked for the assignment. But that really wasn’t the only reason she called. Her partner, the father of her two children, had just been arrested for soliciting a prostitute, and she needed to talk to someone. Needed someone to pray.
I don’t always know what to say in these situations; in fact, I seldom do. But when I find myself there, I also find the Spirit is with me to help me express truth and offer the blessing of hope.
FAITH STEP: Who needs to receive a blessing of hope from you today?
Written by Gwen Ford Faulkenberry
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