Saturday, February 04, 2017
The Faithful Student
Yesterday was Friday and it had been a long week at school. Not a bad week; actually a very good week but extremely busy. I made my mind up that I was going to leave right at 3:45, the earliest time teachers may depart under normal circumstances. But, it's never easy to get away. I needed to do this and a teacher brought some work to me and before I knew it, the clock on my computer said 4:30. Now I could leave .... but then a girl walked in. She asked if she could work in my room on her card and I said sure. The young lady is an 8th grader from China in her first year in the US. I think she is very intelligent but English is still very difficult for her so her grades in Bible don't reflect what I believe is her superior intellect. Yesterday was a test day and after we are done with tests, we make cards for people who are in the hospital or grieving or simply need cheering up. Except for asking for some glue, she toiled wordlessly for about an hour until the call came that her ride was here. She finished the card right then and left it with me- it's for the husband of a former faculty member and dad of two of our alumni whose father died recently. She did painstaking work, very intricate in detail. She had probably spent fifteen minutes on it at the end of Bible class in the morning so I'm guessing she put north of an hour and a quarter for a small bonus that ends up being only up to a 3% extra credit. I marveled at her industriousness for such a small reward. My take is she is very kind and wants to bring some light to a grieving family.
This afternoon, I took another look at the essay she penned on her previous test. The question dealt with the fairness of the owner in the Parable Of The Workers In The Field as well as my treatment of a basketball player named Heidi. Our international students are not allowed to use translators on tests but I make an exception for discussion sections as their English vocabulary is limited. I could not follow her logic exactly but what I took out was that she thought the land owner was unfair (paying all the workers the same regardless of how long they worked) and I was fair in not playing Heidi even though she was eligible. She made a point that I thought as brilliant in regards to school policy. It doesn't matter if you are one second late for school or one hour late, you are still late and there will be a penalty, detention. None of my English speaking students came up with that train of thought. She made a perfect score on the essay part of the exam.
It's fairly simple for me to take into account her language barriers in middle school. Grades don't go to class rank which goes into college acceptance/scholarships and can sway the future as they do once we hit the ninth grade. In my middle school classes, I can help here and there as needed. Let me share an example why I so greatly appreciate this girl. In the fall when it was obvious that it would be hard for her on our reading quizzes taken straight from the Gospel of Luke, I offered to let her take them with her laptop open to biblegateway.com as compensation. She refused my offer- she felt it would not be fair to her classmates. That kind of said it all to me. I know she isn't perfect but I know she's trying hard. That's why one of the most comforting passages to me comes in Matthew 25 where Jesus twice quotes the master as saying, "Well done, good and faithful servant." Notice, he doesn't say 'good and talented servant' or 'good and flawless servant' or even 'good and perfectly bilingual servant.' I'm going to be judged despite my many imperfections through the blood of Jesus. My life will be evaluated by my faithfulness, despite the many sins I have committed. Satan accuses me; my Savior defends me. I'm like my student- all my effort would still leave me short in the final tally if there were no grace. But praise God, there is grace and we all know what it is. Just amazing.
Applicable quote of the day:
"Many are called, few are chosen, but fewer still are faithful. These are the overcomers spoken of ten times in the book of Revelation. They are disciples of Jesus who have not only been accepted by God but who have been tested by Him through many circumstances and who have been approved by Him."
E-ail me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Posted by Steve Hawley at 9:00 PM