This semester, I have started a new teaching position that has caused me to be somewhat self-reflective. As I walk the halls of my alma mater and enter classrooms, memories flood back of my experience as a student. Probably because I am in an academic building and not wandering the dorms, these memories seem to focus on classes, significant learning moments, and interactions with professors. Ironically, I am teaching in the classroom where I had one of those big “aha” moments that profoundly changed my approach to ministry. My office happens to be down the hall from where I would sit with my academic advisor, and he would boldly challenge both my academic work and my life.
As I reflect on my teaching, I am well aware of the impact these and other teachers have on my life – the fingerprints they have left on me, both academically and personally. As academics, these teachers held themselves and their students to a high intellectual standard. They challenged students to think and make connections between theory and practice and creatively planned holistic teaching experiences that engaged the whole student and not just their mind. These faithful men and women were open to the Holy Spirit’s leading in the classroom, speaking truth into students’ lives and displaying grace, reminding us of our Savior’s love.
The fingerprints of these past mentors and teachers are all over me, and I am grateful for these men and women who gave freely of themselves to teach both academically and spiritually. Their imprint on my life has been profound, and my prayer is that I am able to follow their example and not only strengthen my students’ minds, but nurture their hearts and faith as well. As Hebrews 13:7 (NASB) states: Remember those who led you, who spoke the word of God to you; and considering the result of their conduct, imitate their faith.
May I live into the example of those who have gone before me, leaving fingerprints of a faithful life that points others to Jesus.