For three weeks now, I have been examining myself as a Sunday school teacher to see if I am becoming more effective in this ministry or if I’m already on the process of sinking. For the past few weeks, I have observed carefully that my students are becoming late to the point that only few are striving to be on time. And whenever I would teach, I would find out that they are losing their lesson handouts I have given them, have forgotten their Bible or misplaced it, and/or too miserable to smile (even a doglike grin) to portray a soul excited to worship the Lord
Last Saturday on our choir practice, I was sitting beside my two students (who are more likely introverts). We were rehearsing the song “He Gave His All” and I noticed that one of them is not singing really fervently as the other one does. So I tried to ask her what the matter is. I tried to catch up with her.
“How are you?” I asked.
“Fine, Ma’am,” said she with a blank face on.
“That’s good. How’s your spirituality?”
“Just okay, Ma’am.” Still wearing her blank face on.
“Are you enjoying the song?”
And then she tried to respond with a yes by raising her eyebrows flippantly as though she has no tongue and mouth to have the courage to utter the three-letter word.
We carried on with our practice. As we were reviewing the notes, I can really see in her face that her spirit is not in the song. That it’s out there somewhere, flying, flipping, wandering around (what I meant to say was that her focus was not in worshipping the Master through the song we were learning). My heart honestly cried. I felt, for a moment, that I wasn’t being effective in bringing my students to Jesus no matter how hard I try. However, I sensed that pessimism is embracing my heart and mind once again so I tried to pay no heed to the deceitful feeling that was signaling arrival and brushed it off right away. So, to ease the heartbreak I was feeling deep within, I strived to offer her a smile. She smiled back.
I encouraged her by saying how joyful it is to sing for the Lord and to offer to Him songs of praise. I shared to her how I used to feel when I was their age and how I struggled with peer pressure, anxieties, depression, men-pleasing and such stuffs. Her response was plain: a smile with a bit of a friendly nod. And then I saw her seatmate, her classmate in Sunday school – my student. I saw that she was smiling sincerely and trying to meditate on the message of the song. As a matter of fact, she was not hitting the high notes. She’s missing them. She’s out of tune, but the earnestness of her heart is revealed in some way or another. She has only been saved for months, and yet her heart was a heart of worship.
And then it hit me.
Why don’t I encourage my good-hearted student to encourage my low-spirited student? Maybe if I do it alone it won’t work. (It doesn’t always work, we know that.) But if she does, maybe it will. It’s worth the try. I tapped my student’s shoulder and told her of my idea to encourage our fellow sister in Christ.
As I gazed upon them from beside, my heart and soul rejoice together as I witness my student grow in Christ by encouraging her Sunday school classmate and sister in Christ.
Sometimes, I think that I was just in the ministry of teaching Sunday school by chance never knowing that it’s God plan from the beginning to involve me in this ministry and use me to affect other people’s lives. Just recently, I discovered an old note that I wrote to my friend, Angel (who’s in Florida now – God bless that young girl’s heart) a couple of years ago,I guess. I wrote there these same exact words:
I’ve always wanted to be a Sunday school teacher to my fellow teen friends. J This thought makes me miss Ate Nissi & her encouraging me to be a teacher in Sunday school.
Insert a warped smiley and a heart here*
Ate K <3
I was thrilled because before it was just a desire. I got really thankful to God for answering my prayer and for counting me faithful enough to be selected as a teacher. I mean, really? I can’t believe how God brought me from one place to another in order to perform His will. I know that He has a plan why my Sunday school class is not all the time excited and alive. I believe that He is teaching me to be true to this ministry. There’s no reason for me to be sad. Besides, it’s the Lord Who changes and worketh in the heart of every student I have in class. My role is just to let Him perform His will in me by obeying and submitting. Being weary while in the ministry is the last thing I want to do in life.
“And I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who hath enabled me, for that he counted me faithful, putting me into the ministry;” I Timothy 1:12 I will not allow Satan to tempt me and make me feel guilty or unworthy of the ministry God has entrusted me.
Thank God also for Matthew 11:28 in which the Scripture says, “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” We need not to fret when something doesn’t turn out to be the way we want it to. There may be moments of getting tired especially when we feel that we are not getting effective in our ministries anymore, but the Bible tells us of Jesus’ promise to us that in Him we will have rest.
I feel convicted that I ever had a question in my heart if God is really leading me to the right path and if He really wanted me in the Sunday school department. I feel convicted, but not guilty.
I thank my Lord for reminding me that I need not to be depressed over those who seem stagnant in their spiritual lives, but to be happy and rejoicing instead for those who are showing potentials and evident healthy relationship with the Savior.
Ah, there is joy unspeakable in serving God through Sunday school ministry.