28 March 2008


In our Bible study homework this past week, we've looked at both kindness and goodness -

God's kindness tenders His goodness (and aren't we SO thankful that He is good, all the time), so that He does not only what is good for us, but He does what is hard and good for us and in us, tenderly and nurturinly... that is one of those "think I'll chew on that thought for a bit," as is typical of most of the Beth Moore Bible studies in which I've participated.

However I missed our weekly meeting/video session due to a seminar I was invited to attend. What was amazing was how those same two themes - kindness and goodness - seemed to come up in our seminar, even though the seminar was about devleoping a Biblical standards and a philosophy of teaching in the classroom (there are the beginnings of a Christian ed movement going on among believing teachers working in both public and private schools here in Niger). It is always amazing to me how God synchronizes the things He is teaching us, no matter from what direction they arrive.

One of the thoughts that has lodged itself in my mind is: Can I show kindness, defined as "tender concern, a desire to treat gently," towards the Eternal One? Are my interactions with Him characterized by a "grace which pervades the whole nature, mellowing all which would be harsh and austere?" Obviously, as a fruit of the Spirit, this sort of kindness, divine kindness, can only be manifest in me when my life is submitted to the moment by moment leadership of the Holy Spirit in my life.

What do these reflections have to do with a seminar on educating, especially in a secular system with expectations that secular requirements will be met? The man who led the seminar (and it was so exciting/encouraging to see that the attendees were almost entirely Nigerien believers active in the field of education through a variety of venues) challenged those of us attending with the following Scripture passages:

I Cor 10.31: "...whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God."


Matt 22.21,22 "...Render therefore unto Caesar the things which are Caesar's; and unto God the things that are God's." When they had heard these words, they marvelled, and left him, and went their way.

I think when I heard these two verses - different pieces from the whole counsel of God's Word brought together for the first time - I felt a little like I'd been run over by a truck. The verses in Matthew, I'd only ever thought about in the context of my obligation towards and submission to those governmental authorities that God had placed in my life. I'd never considered the implications of the other half of the verse...

...that in all situations, I'm also to give to God what is His due - glory - a correct estimation of who He is and what He has done.

In this seminar, the challenge was not just to teach to the very best of our abilities, mastering our subjects and teaching methodology... to not just meet governmental standards... to not just invest in the lives of our students by loving them and loving learning... but most importantly of all, to give the glory to God:

  • when teaching about the water cycle of evaporation, condensation and rain;
  • when teaching about how and why plants are the foundation of all food chains;
  • when teaching that the measure of all three angles in a triangle will always measure 180'; and
  • to continually recognize and acknowledge that all wisdom and intelligence comes from God.

The presenter was clear that glorifying God in this way would come with a cost - no doubt about it. But to not do so is disobedience. To not do so could hinder a little one from coming to God which has serious consequences (which, might I add, could not be considered good or kind). And those were just a few of the examples given.

The thought from which I could not escape (and I don't know if it really makes sense to anyone but me), however, was that choosing to accept that cost, whatever it may be, and giving God the glory in each and every situation, is just a little way to demonstrate back to Him the fruit of His Spirit: treating Him gently, tenderly and reverently - realizing that it profoundly touches His heart to have His glory unashamedly proclaimed.


  1. I tagged you today...here's the link:

  2. Good luck to you out there and be careful
    Say hello to Sahel academy Students , tell them NIger1.com want to talk about them


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