I attended the Youth Rally last night and I haven’t been so filled spiritually in a long time. You will think working in a Mission school fuels you spiritually all the time. Well, I would say for me being an educator in a Mission school sometimes blur the lines between worldly ideals and God’s perspectives of things way too much.
People may assume that I am always reminded of God’s word through the scripture verses on the school walls, daily devotions and chapel services working in a Mission school. It’s true, but sometimes religion, routines and worldly judgement in an institution can also be deafening to what God’s love is all about. My performance is constantly measured by worldly terms in an education institute, yet it conflicts with the school’s mission of forgiveness and grace. Undoubtedly it sends me on a emotional roller coaster ride, constantly pulled from one end to the other.
I have been pondering about my position as an educator of late. I am reminded of my strengths and weaknesses constantly through performance appraisals, lesson observation sessions, students’ appreciation (or lack of), and last but not least parents’ feedback. Feeling irony is a daily affair when you work in a Mission school.
However, today’s reflection is not a ranting session about how as teachers our Singaporean performance based ideals are bad. Last night’s rally presents a deep realisation of Jesus’s gifts to me – both my weaknesses and strengths.
Backtrack to some weeks ago, when I had a short fellowship session with my ex-student after a Drama CCA session. He shared with me his testimony of late and asked if I am attending the Youth Rally. Of which he shared that he is performing. Casually I told him that I would definitely attend. It’s not everyday that you get to fellowship with a student, and I was happy for him.
When I saw the date of the rally, I didn’t even remember that it was Teacher’s Day holiday.
In the weeks after, a series of disheartening events happened in school (which I will not speak of because it doesn’t matter anymore after the rally). I knew that I cannot dwell in the negativity, so I seek the word of God, speak to people who I know will speak life into me and to cry out to Jesus.
In my prayer moments I asked Jesus “What is it that you want me to do from here? Am I fit to be a teacher? Is this where you want me to be”
Of which I heard NOTHING from Him. Silence.
I continued on what gives me comfort in the Lord. I clung to whatever I can and He gave me little joys to move forward. Fast forward to last night, and I was still concerned about my strengths and weaknesses. Just like Pastor Judah Smith preached, I have a mindset that sees weaknesses as something to hide, something that I do not think well of.
What happened last night blew my mind.
It’s like all the dots are finally connected. When I saw my ex-student performing a monologue, the warmth of the love of Jesus consumed me. He tells me “you were part of his journey, I placed you there for a reason.” When Billy Graham’s rally in 1978 was featured and Ps. shared that we are a new generation, I realised that we are made and blessed for something that is greater than ourselves. It is beyond our strengths and weakness.
Because Jesus, your love is so much more.
In 2 Corinthians 12:7-10 (MSG), Paul writes:
“Because of the extravagance of those revelations, and so I wouldn’t get a big head, I was given the gift of a handicap to keep me in constant touch with my limitations. Satan’s angel did his best to get me down; what he in fact did was push me to my knees. No danger then of walking around high and mighty! At first I didn’t think of it as a gift, and begged God to remove it. Three times I did that, and then he told me, My grace is enough; it’s all you need. My strength comes into its own in your weakness. Once I heard that, I was glad to let it happen. I quit focusing on the handicap and began appreciating the gift. It was a case of Christ’s strength moving in on my weakness. Now I take limitations in stride, and with good cheer, these limitations that cut me down to size—abuse, accidents, opposition, bad breaks. I just let Christ take over! And so the weaker I get, the stronger I become.”
Both our strengths and weaknesses are gifts from Jesus! What a fresh perspective on how we should relate to them!
“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.” -2 Corinthians 5:17 ESV
Why should we adopt an old worldly view and when God says that the new has come? So let’s embrace Jesus, who is running to embrace us like the Father embraced the prodigal son. Let us embrace the new arrangement for strengths and weaknesses : that they are gifts, whether they are weakness or strengths.
“But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.” – 2 Corinthians 12:9 ESV
What is then, the act of boasting our weakness? Ps. Judah Smith preached that it is to think well of our weaknesses. Organically, if we see our weaknesses as gifts from God, we will think well of them. Weaknesses are not here to hinder us, they are vessels for God’s strength to come through. As for our strengths, it is a gift for us to enjoy.
Jesus doesn’t need our help, He just wants us to be loved and enjoy our days on earth as new creation. We can just embrace a new mindset, a lifetime of learning from the bible and adopting new perspectives on worldly things.
When we see both weaknesses and strengths as gifts from God. We are freed from the bondage of validation through performance. Our walk is therefore not performance-based, it’s grace-based.
We can truly be human, we can be real. We won’t need validation or affirmation.
To learn about this simple truth is life giving and yes, the perfect Teacher’s Day gift from Abba Father.
Thank you Jesus, I am so blessed to be found by you. Your overwhelming, never ending, reckless love embraces me, always.