My students have a problem with turning in assignments. I see my classes every other day because of the block schedule we are on. Since I don’t see them every day, it is imperative that they are doing Math practice in the mean time. It’s a huge problem when my students don’t turn in homework. Their lack of understanding and poor grades on assessments directly correlates with the number of missing assignments they have. It’s clear that they aren’t getting any practice, and therefore aren’t learning anything. There’s really not much that will stick in any eleven year old’s brain after an hour and a half of learning about a brand new topic that has nothing to do with One Direction, Instagram or Minecraft.
In 6th grade Math, practice is crucial to meaningful learning. According to our grading policy, teachers are to accept students’ late work up to five days past the assignment’s due date. Trying to be as gracious as possible, I’ve decided to extend the five-day grace period to an unlimited amount of days before report card grades are due for the grading cycle. I’ve done everything to get my students to turn in their work. I’ve printed lists of the missing assignments and posted them on my board. I’ve gone around to every single student and looked through ALL of their school work to see if they have any of the work they are missing for my class crumbled up somewhere in their backpack. I’ve even given them multiple copies of the missing work weeks after it was to be turned in. And all of this to end up in the same spot of entering a bunch of big, fat 0’s in the grade-book. It’s sad. All of my efforts to help my students out in earning grades for assignments have proved unsuccessful.
The apathetic state of my students remind me of myself. I look on my students with sadness and confusion, not understanding why in the world they can’t turn in a piece of paper. Can’t they at least pretend to care? Through all of my wonderings, I’m brought back to how God saved me. Sure I’m somewhat of an authority to 150 6th grade students, but oh man, I am just like them. Distracted. Confused. Rebellious. Lost. Desperate to fit in and be loved. Putting things that don’t matter first and things that do matter last.
Without Jesus, that’s how life is. It’s a whirlwind of never being good enough mixed with apathy. Why don’t we care about ensuring a delightful end result? Why don’t we care about the journey there? Because we are blind. We can’t see what God sees. We don’t believe Him. We give up easily and then flaunt our inability to be successful. We enjoy failing as long as we are still in control. But that’s just it, we are never in control. It’s either the Creator of the ends of the earth or the ruler of this world.
The life of a disciple of Christ requires perseverance. We must endure. We must fight. We have to stand strong against the powers that are trying to keep us from serving our Savior. We have to fight with and for our brothers and sisters in Christ in prayer to keep the forces of satan away from us. We have to fight. We can’t just give up or stay stagnant. We can’t be okay with not fulfilling the expectations of our high calling. We have to claim our position in Christ. We have to walk in a manner worthy of our calling.
So this I say, and affirm together with the Lord, that you walk no longer just as the Gentiles also walk, in the futility of their mind, being darkened in their understanding, excluded from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them, because of the hardness of their heart; and they, having become callous, have given themselves over to sensuality for the practice of every kind of impurity with greediness. But you did not learn Christ in this way, if indeed you have heard Him and have been taught in Him, just as truth is in Jesus, that, in reference to your former manner of life, you lay aside the old self, which is being corrupted in accordance with the lusts of deceit, and that you be renewed in the spirit of your mind, and put on the new self, which in the likeness of God has been created in righteousness and holiness of the truth.
Therefore, laying aside falsehood, speak truth each one of you with his neighbor, for we are members of one another. Be angry, and yet do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, and do not give the devil an opportunity. He who steals must steal no longer; but rather he must labor, performing with his own hands what is good, so that he will have something to share with one who has need. Let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth, but only such a word as is good for edification according to the need of the moment, so that it will give grace to those who hear. Do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you.
We have been given an assignment to complete in faithfulness and steadfastness. We must not ignore or put it off for later. The day will soon come when we will stand in front of our Heavenly Father to give an account of our lives. May it be a glorious day of rejoicing when we stand in His presence knowing that we did all we could to please Him and serve Him with the new life He has given us.
Instead of being like my students (and probably how some of us were, too) who dread the day report cards come out, let’s hope for that day. Let’s strive to know and love our Jesus more and to confidently stand in front of Him knowing we made the Honor Roll.
I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.