Tomorrow marks the beginning of the Fall term for me. All of my students are back in the studio and ready to begin lessons again, the speech and debate classes I will be coaching are starting up for the competitive season. School has begun. The difference between this week this year, and this week last year, is that last year I was the student. I was looking to my teachers to counsel and guide me, looking for help for all the problems I could not solve on my own.
As I was pondering this idea today I was hit with the most terrifying realization. I am absolutely not fit to be leading my peers. I am young, I have so much more to learn, indeed I am in many ways just as ignorant as those I am suppose to be coaching this year. And yet, even with this, it is still my duty (And certainly my honor) to lead them.
But this got me thinking further. How am I going to teach this year? How is my coaching going to affect the lives of those I lead? Will I have wisdom and understanding or will I fail? God is the answer to these questions. We all know the verse, "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me" (Phil 4:13). Here is the simple truth: This year will NOT work on my own strength. I will not lead properly, I will not speak wisdom into those who need it, I will not be able to accomplish anything apart from God, His strength, and His wisdom.
So I read Proverbs 9 in the hopes that God would teach me something. That I would glean something that I can use to increase my wisdom to be a better teacher. And wouldn't you know? This is what it says...
Proverbs 9:7-8 "Whoever corrects a scoffer gets himself abuse, and he who reproves a wicked man incurs injury. Do not reprove a scoffer, or he will hate you; reprove a wise man, and he will love you."
A couple of thoughts:
1) I do NOT want abuse. Who does? I do not want injury. So I should simply leave any trouble-makers alone and only focus on the "good" people. No. False. I believe these verses are speaking specifically to me in the position I am in today. The leader. God will be teaching me this year. God will be showing me what to say and do in certain situations, and God will reprove me for my wrong actions. I must make sure to guard my heart and not turn and be the scoffer. In the same way as I would not like a student to talk back to me, I must not talk back to God.
2) I would posit that one of the first baby steps to being Wise is in verse 8. If God reproves me, corrects me, tells me of a fault, and I love Him, I am beginning to gain wisdom. If my knee jerk reaction to God's correction is anger, then I obviously have a lot to work on.
Now, all of this is quite pointed to me, but I would say that certainly some of you out there are, or will be struggling with this topic. You must know you are absolutely not alone. But furthermore, I need your help. If I am to be an effective leader I must be willing to listen. I must be willing to take correction and have a humble attitude. As I move into this new stage of life, this time where I move from student to teacher, I would ask for your help to encourage me, correct me when I go astray, and help me keep on the right path.
Aside from God we are nothing. At the same time, aside from strong, Godly discipleship we become weak and stray. Let us band together to encourage and love one another as we take on this next year. God is always on our side, and we should fight together just as Christ fights for us.