Prayer: Dear Lord, we want to teach what is important to You this day. Please help us with issues of character, heart, and conscience. Thank You for this reminder. Amen

Scripture: But the goal of our instruction is love from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith. For some men, straying from these things, have turned aside to fruitless discussion, wanting to be teachers of the Law, even though they do not understand either what they are saying or the matters about which they make confident assertions. 1 Timothy 1:5-7 NAS

I will never forget my first college lesson in writing lesson plans that included justification of each lesson, project, and activity with matching, concise, stated objectives. There had to be a prescribed purpose to our plans and observable results. The state had decided what every child needed to learn during that grade, and as teachers, we were going to have to prove that we made progress toward the goals.

Now I love to see students learn, and I love to see their faces light up when they understand something new, but to be quite honest, I did not yearn to become a teacher for the sake of teaching children math or even how to read. I wanted to become a teacher to impact their character in a way that would make them more positive and successful human beings. I wanted the contact I had with them to reverberate across their lives and every life they encountered. I wanted to see it multiply and divide and spread around the world. I wanted to leave God’s fingerprints on every life I touched, making sure they knew that they were wonderfully made, strong and priceless, yet humble, and fully valuing the wonderful, priceless person to their left and to their right. I wanted them to know they were loved and to love others. I wanted them to reach for their dreams but not miss the treasures and rewards on the way there. I wanted them to learn that helping others feels so much better than putting them down to lift yourself up. I wanted them to see the value in the differences of people instead of believing that everyone should be like them. I wanted them to yearn to learn, to see the value in obtaining knowledge, wisdom and understanding. I felt that in learning these things they would learn to see God in everything including other people. They would learn to live humble, yet empowered lives with open hearts and to make wise choices.

It seemed to me that without the foundational values and behavior, there would be a huge hole in the process of applying the subjects they learned in school. Knowledge just for knowledge’s sake can either be useless or dangerous. Maybe you know someone or have seen instances where a person’s passion for a subject like science, history, or even the arts was used like a bulldozer to get what they wanted with little or no regard for what was good for others and glorifying to God. This was also Paul’s goal for everyone he taught. He states here in these Scriptures that his goal is for others to learn and love from a pure heart, a good conscience, and a sincere faith. He also states that straying from these things leads to fruitless discussion and foolishness. Without a pure heart, good conscience, and sincere faith there is corruption, pride, and tragic mistakes: mistakes that hurt others more than themselves. I knew if I held to the goals of my instruction it would make the world a better place one student at a time.

My prayer for you is that you would strive towards your goals and observe their results.

Copyright Kathy Branzell. To connect with the author, email

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