Prayer: Lord, give me the words that fan into flame the distinctive gifts you have placed in my students. May they be encouraged today. Amen

Scripture: He will reply “Truly I tell you, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.” Matthew 25:45 NIV

There she is, third row, sitting right in front of the teacher’s desk or close to where the teacher routinely stands when she wants to instruct the class. Her eyes shine with excitement because she knows the answers to the teacher’s questions.

Though the teacher does not call on her again, it is hard to ignore her arms waving excitedly in the air. Her body language pleads, “Call on me. I know the answers. I’ve studied and done my homework.” But she’s been called on so many times already, the teacher thinks, and it’s only fair to give the other students in the class an opportunity to participate.

She is obviously poor despite the clean clothing she wears. Much of what she wears after the first few weeks of school is second hand or comes from the Salvation Army. There are several children in the family, and her parents struggle to make ends meet. It is rumored there are half-brothers and sisters in the home.

For sure–you cannot take from her that she’s a bright little girl, eager to learn and determined to make something of herself. She’ll go far, this one, with encouragement and a little luck, but it’ll be God who propels her forward into doors that He has preordained–for sure.

The success of that sweet, precious darling lies in her learning as much as possible, reading as many books as possible, and applying herself in school.

I know that little girl intimately. How could I not recognize myself as a young girl many years ago?

I diligently search for her each year. More than gender or ethnicity, it is an attitude of desperation that I look for in a student, combined with God-given gifts and desires.

A teacher’s words helped to turn the embers in my soul into flames that could not be doused by the waters of mediocrity; a teacher’s encouragement; a teacher’s patience with my obvious shortcomings; a teacher’s love.

Has the Lord shown you yourself in your classroom? As a result has it caused you to reach out a little more to others in compassion and grace? And what about Jesus? Have you seen Him in your classroom, too?

This devotional is from Clara’s book, Wisdom from the Briar Patch https://www.amazon.com/Wisdom-Briar-Patch-Clara-Ruffin/dp/161996709X

Copyright Clara Ruffin. To connect with the author, email clara.ruffin@comcast.net

For other inquiries about the Daily Devotionals or to submit original content for publication, please contact devotionals@christianeducators.org

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