In all toil there is profit, but mere talk tends only to poverty.
Titus 2: 7-8
Show yourself in all respects to be a model of good works, and in your teaching show integrity, dignity and sound speech that cannot be condemned, so that an opponent may be put to shame, having nothing evil to say about us.
This school year has gotten off to a rough start. What can I say? Class sizes are up, the work level has increased, and I am older and less tolerant of bad behaviors.
Recently, after a particularly hard week I was feeling down. I found myself asking, "Why am I not able to reach my students like I used to? Why am I such a failure?"
Then, as usual, God spoke back to me.....
"You are trying," he said, "with all that you have. The only failure is in just talking about the problem, standing there and waiting for someone else to fix it."
So often, we as Christians feel like failures. Perhaps we have attempted to reach a certain person: praying for them, being a good Christian role model, inviting them to church, and telling them about God's ability to wash away our sins. We have continued for month after month, sometimes even year after year. The person has seemed to listen, but he or she has not responded.
In a case like this, it is so easy to just give up and say, "I can't do anything else."
Or perhaps we have seen a gap in our church program or community: a youth group lacking a leader, a Sunday school class that needs a teacher, a program that might assist our community in some way. It is so easy to sit and talk about the problem- but it takes guts to step up to the plate and actually attempt to do something.
God lets us know that our efforts are seen- ALL efforts are seen. We may be trying and trying and trying. We may feel that we are failing or that our time just isn't making a difference..... but God assures us that ALL toil provides profit.
There are going to be weeks when I may not reach all of my students, but I need to try to focus on the one or two whom I was able to teach- that little bit of growth is my profit. I need to remember to continue to strive to be a good role model: speaking kindly, showing personal integrity, and never giving up.
There are going to be times in life when I feel that I am a failure in my Christian life too, but I need to remember that if I am a model of good works, then those works WILL be rewarded. The only failure is in giving up and standing by..... waiting for someone else to do the job.
Lord, help me remember that I am NOT a failure, so long as I am continuing to try!