Titus 2; Jeremiah 15-16; Psalm 126
There seems to be a hierarchy of teachers. Some teachers are in the upper tiers: college professors, high school dual credit or honors teachers. Others may not be at the absolute top, but they’re pretty high up on the list: other high school teachers especially. Elementary teachers are important in the lives of their students. Middle School/Junior High teachers are all terrible, this having nothing to do with the time of life that kids are going through, of course. Kindergarten teachers, though, many accuse them of doing nothing by engaging in play time. The truth is that they have one of the toughest jobs around. While we see them as sweet ladies, because no guy can teach those little munchkins, who care for kids, many don’t see them for the teachers they are. These teachers take kids who have no sense of numbers, or colors, and are just learning the alphabet, and teach them the academics they need to be able to read and do math. Kids learn their colors because of these teachers. Many of these kids come from difficult family situations and have no sense of right and wrong, and it’s the kindergarten teacher that starts them off on the right path.
Robert Fulgham wrote the book “All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten.” We think it’s a cute book, but there is a lot of truth in that title. Many kids learn how to behave and how to do academics because of the dedicated work of Kindergarten teachers. How many of us secretly wanted our Kindergarten teachers to stay with us all the time? Learning and growing is an important part of life, and it’s an important part of our walk as followers of Christ. We have a teacher who begins with us as we learn what it means to follow Christ, and He continues with us as long as we shall live. “For the grace of God has appeared that offers salvation to all people. It teaches us to say ‘No’ to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age,” (Titus 2:11-12 NIV)
We have our first positive experience with God through His grace. This grace appeared and offered salvation. Paul reminds us that we are saved by grace through faith. We wouldn’t even have the faith to be saved, were it not for God’s grace. And so it is, God’s grace appeared to give us our first experience with God’s love and allow us to come into fellowship with him. One of the problems that many of us have is that once we experience that grace, we embrace it excitedly to come to salvation, a relationship with God, but then think that like a Kindergarten teacher, it’s time to move on to bigger and better things. Only, as Paul shows us here, grace doesn’t only initiate us into the fellowship of the gospel, it teaches us each step of the way. Grace teaches us what not to do, and what to do.
Grace is an amazing teacher. Grace treats us with love and compassion, like we expect Kindergarten teachers to do. Grace teaches us how to live from the beginning of our relationship with Christ. Grace continues to build on those “kindergarten years” in the faith and leads us deeper and deeper into our knowledge of God and His ways. Paul asked the Galatians why they were so foolish to believe that having begun by faith, that they should continue to grow by works. Grace that allows faith teaches us each step of the way. Our lives become molded more and more to the image of Jesus Christ, not by works, but by God’s grace which allows any works of service for Him. It saddens me to see people trying to make God happy or doing good things out of fear that God will get mad if they don’t do them. God’s way of dealing with us, if we accept it, is grace. Grace draws us to Him, grace teaches us to say ‘no’ to bad things in life, and leads us to live in a way that pleases God. Our works can’t do that, only grace can.
Lord, let Your grace continue to work in me and reveal the mysteries of the faith as I live for You.
Scripture taken from the Holy Bible, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.