Whose side are you on?

Whose side are you on?

(picture taken from canibuyavowel.wordpress.com)

It is time for class to start.  We are one day short this week due to an unplanned holiday which means only two days to review before the final.  Now, are my senior students worried about this?  No, not really.    Three of my students are warming themselves by the heater and not too concerned about getting ready for class to start.  So instead of asking my students  how their three day weekend was and getting them focused in a positive way, I immediately got on them for not being on task and moved them back to their regular seats away from the heater.   In the next 5 minutes, I could see that my approach was not the best.  Out of four students, I had two with me and two not with me.    Now I do realize that a better approach might not have had better results but at least I would not have felt like it was my fault.  To top it off, the next morning as I was reading through Philippians 4 in the Message, I came across this paragraph.

Celebrate God all day, every day.  I mean, revel in him!  Make it as clear as you can to all you meet that you are on their side, working with them and not against them.  Help them see that the Master is about to arrive.  He could show up any minute.

Was I celebrating God?  No.  I was stressed about getting my students ready for a test and disappointed in their apathy.   So often I look at a situation as a problem instead of celebrating God and the opportunities he sends me to influence those around me in a positive way.  Was I making it clear I was on their side?  No, I was combative and authoritative.  My attitude was clearly not showing the Master to my students.  Everyday I have a choice with my students.  I can let them know I am on their side, working with them and not against them and focus on them.  Or I can focus on the task and getting it done at all costs.  I am finding that the former gets better results.  The next day I tried a different approach- a more positive one that was focused on the student and not the task.  Were all the students with them?  Well maybe 3 out of 4 this time but I felt I had done the right thing.   So sometimes it is the simple things that help me be on my student’s or even children’s sides.  Maybe it is having extra pencils and erasers available for students to borrow.  Maybe it is coming along side my son as he cleans his room and helping him.  Maybe it is quizzing my daughter on her biology the night before her big test.  May I choose to celebrate God all day, everyday in all my interactions.
In the gospels, Jesus is in the business of showing people he is on their side.  Jesus reached out to tax collectors like Matthew and Zacchaeus.  He took the time for children to sit on his  lap.  He sees women as equals with value.  His disciples were not a list of who’s who but that didn’t stop Jesus from coming along side them and using them to start his church.  But most of all, Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross allowed us to reconcile with God.  It showed us that God was not against us.   Jesus allowed us to see the Master.  I, for one, am thankful for that.
Dear God, Thank you for Jesus and how he showed us the way to you.  Thank you for second chances.  Help me each day to celebrate you.  Help me to come along side those you send my way.  Help them to see that the Master is about to arrive.   May I show the way not be in the way of you being glorified.  Amen

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