Last week I started working on my master’s degree at Creighton University. One of the focuses of the class that I took last week, had to do with what sets apart Catholic education from public education. During this particular lesson, we watched a video clip of a speech given during Boston University’s 150th anniversary celebration. In the clip, the speaker shared the following Bible verse with the group: Whoever finds their life will lose it, and whoever loses their life for my sake will find it (Matthew 10:39) The speaker used this verse as he was speaking about what a privilege it is to receive an education, and how obtaining an education is useless, unless that education is used to teach or lead others.
That concept struck a chord with me. The speaker was not just speaking about getting an education to be a teacher, although that seems to be fitting as I am pursuing my master’s degree in elementary education. The speaker was talking about this concept of using the knowledge that we have, to lose our life. And the wheels started turning in my brain.
All of us, have an area that we are an expert in, or have a depth of knowledge that can be shared. Thinking about the portion of the speech that I watched in class last week, I realized that this is what Jesus is talking about in Matthew when he’s addressing his disciples. At the beginning of chapter 10 in Matthew, Jesus was sending his disciples out to drive out demons and heal the sick and weak and bring people back to life. God had given them a set of talents and gifts and expertise that they were called to use for the advancement of the kingdom. And just as the disciples went out and advanced the kingdom in the name of Jesus, so we too are called to do the same.
This last Sunday at church, we focused on the theme, “make a difference”, and this message seems to fit with the theme for this week. The talents and gifts and knowledge and desires that we possess, is what can make a difference in this world. That’s what the speaker was getting at in his message, is that when we give away those things, is where we will find our life. God calls us to use our unique set of talents and gifts in service to him.
Now for some of us, this comes naturally. It’s easy for us to serve where ever we are, with whoever we are with. And for others of us, this makes us feel a bit uneasy or uncomfortable. Maybe we’ve never done any service before. I have found though, that the more that I serve or step-up to the plate, the easy that it becomes, and the less that I have those fears and worries and concerns that I may have had before I took that opportunity.
Recently, I have started to look at what school districts in the Omaha area I may be interested in teaching in, once I’ve completed my Master’s degree. My first thought was immediately Millard, since I live in this part of town and am familiar with the school district, as I have a kiddo who just finished Kindergarten with Millard last week. But my thought on school districts is starting to change. Last week I also had to do a presentation related to students in poverty for the same class that I watched that speech in. Our group looked at the free/reduced lunch rates here in the Omaha metro area, and the numbers were very shocking to me. Roughly about 52% of students in the entire United States received free/reduced lunches. That number is much higher in the Omaha Public Schools. For the 2014-2015 school year, 73% of students qualified for free/reduced lunch, versus only 18% within the Millard School District.
After watching that speech and looking at those numbers, God began to go to work on my heart. I have something very valuable to give. Not only my time and talents as my teacher, but my desire to be such a positive light in the lives of these young children, and I almost feel as though my talent would be better suited serving within a school district where my students are experiencing struggles and need to see my light. And so my opinion as of right now, has started to shift on where I want to teach.
What about you? What has God been stirring in your heart lately? Where might He be calling you to be?
May you give your life away to others, so they may too, find life.