And as ye would that men should do to you, do ye also to them likewise. For if ye love them which love you, what thank have ye? for sinners also love those that love them. And if ye do good to them which do good to you, what thank have ye? for sinners also do even the same. And if ye lend to them of whom ye hope to receive, what thank have ye? for sinners also lend to sinners, to receive as much again. But love ye your enemies, and do good, and lend, hoping for nothing again; and your reward shall be great, and ye shall be the children of the Highest: for he is kind unto the unthankful and to the evil. Luke 6:31-35, KJV
As I ascended the steps to my classroom one day, I began to think about my first-period class. I thought about how different this class was from all the others. In my mind, I began to wish they were more awake, more responsive, more engaged, more fun like my other classes, and more loveable. Oh, how I looked forward to every class of the day, except this one.
Suddenly, various questions started swimming through my mind, What could you do differently? What if it’s you? What if you changed your approach, your mindset? What if…? Then, albeit gently, the words of Luke bubbled up, interrupting my thoughts, and reminding me that God, our Father, is kind to the unthankful and loves always, without expectation. Then I thought to myself, What if you just loved them with no expectations? What if you just loved like the Word teaches? What would that be like?
As I welcomed students into the classroom that morning, I cheerfully greeted them with no expectation of a greeting in return. I taught the lesson enthusiastically with no expectation that they would engage. I gave of myself without reservation, unconditionally with love and reckless abandon, with no expectation no matter the outcome. And do you know what? It was the best class time I experienced with my first period all year. It was not because the students were different, it was because I was different. I listened to that still, small voice reminding me that I am to love without expectation. I submitted to the leading of the Holy Spirit, and I just loved. That day, the love of God changed me and spread throughout my classroom.
Dear Heavenly Father, teach me to love without expectation every day. Help me to emulate You today in all that I do with my family, co-workers, students, and strangers, especially to those who do not reciprocate my love. Thank you for Your patience and love for me. Amen.
Copyright Tonie Weddle.
Tonie is a member and a language arts teacher in Kentucky.