Apples, Teaching, & Other Fruits

“We might not be called to vocational ministry, but we are all called everyday ministry.”

What does this statement mean? I may not be a preacher or have a pulpit, but like every believer, I’m called to live out life like Jesus.

“So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.” - 1 Corinthians 10:31

For the past two months, I’ve learned what ministry is in a classroom, not a church service. No, not as a student studying theology but as a teacher. When I’m not fighting crime and support raising by night, I substitute teach Pre-K through 12th grade in two of the local school districts.

Teaching has its good days and bad ones; it's easy and challenging moments too. Some days the lesson plans left for me are pretty basic and I can use the spare moments in class to catch up on work like writing a blog post that’s a week late (Sorry!). Other days I may be actively teaching--which is largely dependent on the grade level because younger kids need more attention--or I may be working with a student’s behavioral issue and debating the best course of action.

When students “test” the sub, I feel like I’m taking an exam instead. Please choose the best answer from the following options. Should I…

  • A) Lecture the class to remind them they need to stay focus on their assignment.
  • B) Change a student’s seating to separate them from distractions.
  • C) Make a not-so-clever Dad joke to grad the class’ attention.
  • D) Ask a pointed rhetorical question like “Am I talking?” to remind students how they should be acting.
  • E) Any other creative solution I can think of before sending the student to the Dean’s.

Despite the headaches, teaching has become an impactful learning experience. A teacher isn’t just an educator these days, he is a part-time social worker. Sure, some students choose to misbehave, but many also have a backstory too. What about the student who’s not getting feed outside of school meals? Or the four-year-old whose parents are getting a divorce? Can you really blame them for acting up in class when their home life is just as chaotic?

In the roughest moments, I think about John 10:2:

“He told them, ‘The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.’”

Jesus calls us to go and harvest His fields, but have you ever talked to a harvester? Farm Work is tough and most rewarding paths in life aren’t easy roads. We might not have a pulpit or theology degree, but we all have a ministry. How much could our communities change if we began asking “What would glorify God the most?” in our everyday jobs. What kind of learning experiences or trials are you going through? 

It doesn't matter if I'm in South East France or waiting in Midwest America. I know I can make an impact if I keep asking myself these key questions. I invite you to do the same.