Thank You For Teaching Me

Nancy Hatcher, Volunteer Writer, South Barrington | June 6, 2024

When the ten heard about this, they were indignant with the two brothers. Jesus called them together and said, “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their high officials exercise authority over them. Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant. 
Matthew 20:24-26

Our verse today is Jesus’ response to His bothered disciples after the mother of two of them asked Him to give her sons elevated status in Heaven. He taught them that in His upside-down Kingdom, greatness comes from humility—not authority.  

Back in the early 80s, I loved the last month of school. Each sixth grader participated in our end-of-the-school-year extravaganza, which included singing, dancing, and short skits they had written. It was the night of the final performance, and I wasn’t finished with my checklist. Soon, the parents would bring their dishes for the massive potluck. 

When I looked up at the carpeted stage and saw bits of paper and muddy footprints, I freaked out and hit the intercom button. 

“I need help from the custodians right away—the stage is a mess.” No answer. I shouted louder the next time, feeling frantic.

“Got it,” a voice finally replied. Some banging and a loud hum from the stage ensued.  “Phew,” I thought.   Finally—they’re getting that done.” 

After a few minutes, I made my way up to the stage and shockingly saw not our custodial staff but our petite principal in her fancy dress-up clothes pushing the massive vacuum. As I walked closer, I saw sweat pouring down her cheek as she cheerily smiled and turned off the contraption. 

“All set for tonight, Honey?”

Stuttering, I muttered,  “I—I—I didn’t mean you should come and do this for us, Mrs. Freund (pronounced Friend). Thank you.”

“Well, lucky for you, I am a principal who knows how to vacuum—you know that saying about if you want to be first, you’ve gotta be the servant of all, don’t you?”

That program and night will forever be seared into my brain, not just because our students were spectacular, but because I learned about a person I wanted to become. I wanted God to build a servant’s heart within me. 

At this time of year, I think of the scads of teachers, administrators, custodians, and staff who modeled a servant’s heart throughout my teaching years. I am forever grateful.

Adopting a servant’s lifestyle isn’t always easy, is it? 

You may occasionally feel unappreciated by humankind and grow weary of doing God’s work in this sometimes very sad world. But someday, we will hear the words of our Savior saying, “Well done, good and faithful servant” (Matthew 25:23). And it will be music to our ears.

Next Steps 

The Bible lists ‘serving’ as a spiritual gift. And you might say, well, that is not my primary gift. However, Jesus commands that we love God and our neighbor as ourselves. This tells me that I can become better at serving and helping others and God. Spend time thinking about this and plan how to better serve God’s kingdom here on Earth.