At our FarBeyond conference this month, Dr. Joseph Kim gave us some good reminders about what it means to be involved in transformational education. Speaking out of Matthew 11:25-31, Dr. Kim pointed out that Jesus himself provides a model for the transformed teacher. For those of you who might have missed out, here is a brief recap of what Dr. Kim had to say:
Far Beyond Action: Praying like Jesus (Paradoxical Living): During his ministry on earth, Jesus poured himself out, being fully present and available to those around him. Despite this, we see in Matthew 11:20 that in the cities in which most of Jesus’ miracles had taken place, the people did not repent. Yet when Jesus sent out the 72, they return full of stories about how “even the demons submit to us in your name” (Luke 10:17). Jesus’ response to this paradox is to go to the Father and praise him for hiding “these things from the wise and the learned, and revealing them to little children” (Matt 11:25). If we want to follow Jesus’ example, we will stop focusing on and trying to solve the paradox, and instead focus our attention on praising and praying to the Father: “To be a Christian school, we must be a praying school.”
Far Beyond Information: Knowing like Jesus (Trinitarian Learning): Jesus did not just come to disseminate information about the Father and the kingdom of God. Instead, he reveals the nature of the Father through his own presence on earth: “…no one knows the Father except the Son and those to whom the son chooses to reveal Him” (Matt. 11:27). As Jesus reveals truth, he does so in a manner that is relational, personal, and communal. Similarly, transformational education takes place in the context of relationship with specific individuals, empowering those individuals to come together in community to apply knowledge for the benefit of the whole.
Far Beyond Production: Resting with Jesus (Sabbath Keeping): Resting is not a means to an end; it is the end. The last thing made during the week of creation was rest. Our busyness is often a sign of our brokenness. Jesus understands this and offers a better way: “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls” (Matt. 11:28-29). As we embrace the pattern of six days of work followed by a day of rest (Sabbath) we will find that Sabbath keeping does something to prepare our souls for worship. As we consider what it means to be transformational educators, the rest and restoration inherent in keeping Sabbath is a vital component in our own transformation, and in the lives of those with whom we work.
Transformational education starts in our own hearts as we are transformed by the redemptive power of the Holy Spirit dwelling within us. In the midst of the busyness of life—especially as the school year draws to a close—we would do well to remember Jesus’ teaching, to come to him in prayer and thanksgiving, asking Him to reveal the Father to us, to lay his yoke upon us, and to give us his rest.
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Photo Credit: All Saints Church, Hayward CA, Japes18, https://www.flickr.com/photos/japes18/3191040088/