Then Jesus told them this parable: “Suppose one of you has a hundred sheep and loses one of them. Does he not leave the ninety-nine in the open country and go after the lost sheep until he finds it? And when he finds it, he joyfully puts it on his shoulders and goes home. Then he calls his friends and neighbors together and says, ‘Rejoice with me; I have found my lost sheep.’ I tell you that in the same way there will be more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who do not need to repent. “Or suppose a woman has ten silver coins and loses one. Does she not light a lamp, sweep the house and search carefully until she finds it? And when she finds it, she calls her friends and neighbors together and says, ‘Rejoice with me; I have found my lost coin.’ In the same way, I tell you, there is rejoicing in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents.” Luke 15:3-10, NIV

Who among you has ever said or heard someone say, “They are a lost cause?”

What does that phrase mean to you? Does it mean that you have given up any hope of that person changing? Does it mean that you are going to turn your efforts and attention elsewhere because they are not responding as you would like them to be responding? Does it mean they can be left to their own demise and you are washing your hands of them? Think about it for a moment.

I know you have poured your hearts, knowledge, and patience into your students all year long. Most of you, if not all of you have at least one student who, as Rick Warren would describe them, is an “extra grace required” student. I am sure that you have collaborated with others, read journals, prayed, gone to classes, met with parents, talked with them personally, given them more attention, more chances, more advice, and more emotion than you ever thought you could in an effort to help them. Now we are drawing close to the end of the year and you are seeing very little, if any, fruit from all your labor. What are you thinking? How are you feeling?

The end of the year brings great challenges for your time and energy. There are so many things to finish, to test, to report, to decide and you are still expected to teach curriculum all while spring fever is running rampant through your school. Believe me, there are a lot of prayers said for you during this time of the year. Please remember that on these long days, someone is praying for you!

In today’s verses, we hear the parables Jesus told right before the parable of the prodigal son. In both of these stories, something was lost, and even though the owner had many others, their priority was to persevere until they found the missing sheep and coin. They did not say, “Oh, it will turn up.” They did not take a quick skim of the area and give up. They did not decide that “you win some and lose some.” Instead, they gave equal value, possibly more energy and value to the one who was lost as an example of how we should value those who are “lost.”

For those people who need a little or even a lot more time, grace, energy, thought, and prayer, they are never a lost cause until they take their last breath. I thank God that He did not give up on me, that He is patient and compassionate with me, and that He pours out grace, wisdom, strength, love, and blessings into my life so that from His overflow, I can pour out all of these towards others.

School is still in session, and beyond the last bell, life is still in session.

Dear Lord, I want to be faithful to the awesome responsibility You have given to me. Please give me the strength and will to do a good job with my classes and students until the school year is completed. I pray for the salvation of each of my students and my co-workers. Thank You, Lord. I am grateful that I am not doing all of this alone. Amen.

Copyright Kathy Branzell.

Kathy has a heart for encouraging Christian educators and currently serves as the President of the National Day of Prayer Task Force. Prior to this role, she was the founder and president of Fellowship and Christian Encouragement (FACE) for Educators.

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Walking in the Opposite Spirit

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CE Summer Bible Study

Thanks for your interest in joining us as we read through the New Testament with our fellow Christian educators this summer!