As the school year races by, these last few weeks have been full of excitement and challenge, but they also represent the end of many things. Here at school our band recently had their last concerts for the year, and they were outstanding. The choral department gave their last performance of the year, and it was spectacular. This year’s Art Gallery was amazing and the drama department shined in The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe. In athletics our varsity baseball team ended a great season in the Regional playoffs and varsity football finished up spring practice in the Spring game with Ransom and Coral Shores High School. Many of our students competed in the Jr. Fine Arts State competition and won many awards in speech, art, drama and music. At the end of this week many students will be saying good bye for the summer, others perhaps for the last time. Seniors will graduate and move on to college and careers, leaving behind many memories of the time spent as students in our school. It is a bitter sweet time for teachers as they watch students whom they have poured their lives into, walk out the door that last day. Some students have been such a joy to have in the class, while others may have struggled throughout the year. Either way, students move on, to someone else’s classroom or into another phase of their lives where someone else will have the opportunity to be an influence in their life.
As I reflect on this process, which takes place every year, I know that the influence of a godly teacher and our Christian school is an amazing opportunity as well as a responsibility. Think of it, students come into our classrooms each year with different backgrounds, different learning styles, and certainly different types of family backgrounds, and here we are, the Christian school, teaching them about the Bible and our experience with Jesus. It is an incredible opportunity, and for many FCS has been the most influential part of their life during this season in their life.
There is a story in the Bible where Jesus met a man who had been blind from birth. His disciples immediately asked Jesus, “…who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?” John 9:2. Jesus answered his disciples, “Neither this man nor his parents sinned, this happened so that the work of God might be displayed in his life,” John 9:3. So rather than focus on the man’s blindness, Jesus focused on the man’s needs. How much do you think the blind man knew about Jesus when he met him? I can’t imagine that he knew very much. So what did he know about Jesus that would cause him to go down to a dirty public bathing area and wash some mud out of his eyes. Jesus did not produce some magic clay, nor was there any healing power in the waters of Siloam. Jesus simply allowed the man to demonstrate his faith. But the real story is that somewhere between meeting Jesus and being healed, this man was convinced that Jesus cared for him so much that he would heal him. No matter what he might have heard about Jesus before, he demonstrated that he believed Jesus really cared about him. Each year, as each teacher evaluates the new group of students coming into their classrooms, it is normal that they consider their students’ previous school academic and behavioral records, but they also know that the new year brings new opportunities for maturity and growth. Jesus used the opportunity with the blind man to dispute a widely held belief that a person’s blindness and other afflictions were caused by some sin in the person’s life. As our students complete this school year we have certainly observed that many of our students, regardless of their past record, have demonstrated this principle as they have matured spiritually and academically in the classroom. The achievements and progress of our students not only demonstrate God’s power in their lives, but also how He uses each teacher to accomplish His purposes.
So as we come to the end of another school year we realize that we have had an incredible opportunity as teachers and educators in our Christian school to reach that student who perhaps was a real problem last year, or who had experienced a significant challenge in his or her personal life. Maybe it was the opportunity given to us to demonstrate that we really care for that student. The blind man was born to be healed by Jesus. Some teachers have received students into their classroom this year who were “born” to be influenced by their teacher. Every parent understands that every child, no matter how challenging or even rebellious, is given to them by God to influence and nurture until they leave our homes and our influence. Many of our students have received Christ as their Savior this year and our teachers have been instrumental in bringing them to Jesus. There is no greater influence we can have as Christian school educators than to influence our students for Christ..
So to our faculty I say, thank you for another great year, but mostly, thank you for focusing on the needs of the students who walk through your doorway every day, and not writing them off because of the past. The blind man trusted Jesus to do what he said he would do even though all of the people believed his blindness was the result of sin. Many of your students and parents have experienced that kind of trust demonstrated in the life of their child because you met a need in their life, and for some it has led them to faith in Christ. Truly there can be no greater calling. To parents I say thank you for entrusting your most precious possessions, your children, to the care of our Christian school. We are honored to serve you and to influence your students for eternity.