Even the Least

Renee Ann Smith —  August 4, 2014 — 26 Comments

We teachers sometimes say that we’d get so much done—if we didn’t have students.

Of course, we’re joking.


In my early years of teaching (can you believe thirty years ago?!), I so wanted to be an A+ teacher and thought the way to ensure my goal was through paperwork. So I gave much time to benchmarks and reports, to redoing worksheets, quizzes, and tests until I deemed them good.

And I chafed when my class was slow to learn or made messes in my perfectly organized classroom or wanted to discuss life more than they wanted to answer my reading recall questions.

Somehow in the midst of all my efforts, I developed tunnel vision.

I failed to see my students—the questions in their eyes, the hopeful smiles on their faces, the needs in their hearts.

My vision was filled with benchmarks and bell curves, with the small neat squares in my gradebook and with the large empty rectangles in my lesson planner.

Fortunately, back then we took time to attend a yearly teaching conference held by Association of Christian Schools International. It was always a highlight of our year. The seminars informed us, challenged us, and gave us more ideas than we could manage to implement in a lifetime.

One professor was decidedly different from all the rest. He had us laughing in moments by asking all kinds of crazy hard Bible questions, which ended up having clever answers.

Then he said, “Who can—right now—tell me the name of every child in your classroom?”

I pictured that list of names I’d painstakingly inked into my gradebook and scribbled furiously, certain of victory—and maybe even a prize.

Then after far too short a time, the professor said. “Stop! Okay, folks, are you ready? Here it is . . . 

The name of every child in your classroom is Jesus Christ.

Because the Lord said, ‘Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did it to one of these brothers of mine—even the least of them—you did it unto Me.’”

Matthew 25 The Least of Them

(Click to Tweet)

Those words pierced my heart.

I don’t know why I had never thought of teaching in those terms before, but I vowed to never make that mistake again

I bowed my head and prayed that God would change my hard heart.

And I began my quest to actually see my students for who they are—children of the Great King,

Precious souls it’s my privilege to know and cherish,

My fellow travelers as we journey towards Heaven

And to allow God to guide me in meeting their needs through the work we do together . . .

Even if that means He changes my lesson to fit His eternal plan.

Father Jude of Saint Gregory’s Priory put it another way. When he disdained kitchen duty over the other higher, more orderly duties of prayer and Bible study, he realized he needed God’s help “to invest ordinary, everyday actions with spiritual significance.”

If you can’t relate to my teacher story, the words Father Jude prayed as he served might hit the mark for you . . . 

“The body that I am helping to keep alive is destined for a glorious resurrection. The person to whom I am carrying a plate of food is someone whom it is an honor to serve. For he has been invited to eat and drink at the table of the King.”

ministry service daily grind(Click to Tweet)

Let us seek to ascribe Jesus’ Name to all those we serve—Amen?

Thanks for stopping by today. Blessings, friends!

***Photo Backstory: I made the 1st graphic from an iPhone pic, which shows a bunch of my high school students and a few fellow teachers at a retreat we attended in Pennsylvania last fall. Isn’t the camp beautiful? Of course, I added the Scripture with PicMonkey.

I made the 2nd graphic with a fun, new site called Spoken.ly. Click on the link to check it out!

Feel free to Pin, Tweet, download & share. (Follow this link for more Free Graphics.)

This week I might be linking up with Amaze Me Monday, Motivation Monday, Playdates with God, The Art of Homemaking Monday, Mix It Up Monday, Inspire Me Monday, The MM&M Monday Link Up, Sharing His Beauty, Mommmy Monday Blog Hop,Monday Musings, Hear It on Sunday, Modest Mondays, Make Your Home Sing Monday, Unforced Rhythms, Salt & LightBusy Monday, Tell Me a True Story, Turn It Up Tuesday,Titus 2 Tuesdays, Teaching What Is Good, What I Learned This Week, Titus 2sday Link-up, Testimony Tuesday, Raising Homemakers, Imperfect Prose, Image-in-ing, WW Catch My Words, WW Ms Mystery Case, Woman to Woman, WW Books & More, WW Stacy Uncorked, Mrs. Tee WW, Raising My Boys WW, WW @PD Mama, WW Blogspot, WW 5 Min for Mom, Mama to 5 WW, A Little R&R, Wake Up Wednesday, Wholehearted Home Wednesdays, Winsome Wednesday, Wise Woman Wednesday, Three Word Wednesday, Works for Me Wednesday, Whimsical Wednesday, Capture Your Journey Wednesday, Adorned from Above Wednesday Link Party, Whimsy Wednesday, In Him We Live, Words of Life Wednesday, Coffee for Your Heart, Juana Mikels Wednesday Link-up,Hope in Every Season Homemaking Party, Thursday Favorite Things, Thriving Thursday, Hearts for Home, Throwback Thursday, Thoughtful Thursday, Booknificent Thursday, Tell His Story, Thought Provoking Thursday, From House to Home Link Party, Share the Joy Thursday, Time Travel Thursday,Thrive @Home Link Up, Grace at Home, Little Things Thursday, Hearts for Home Hop, Christian Connection,Christian Fellowship Friday, Faith-filled Friday Faith & Fellowship Friday,Friendship Friday, Freedom Friday, Essential Friday Link-up, Friday Finds, Coffee Date @Dearest Love, Fridays Unfolded, Everyday Jesus, On Your Heart, Anything Goes, Paula’s No Rules Weekend Hop, Blessings Counters, Missional Weekend Link Up, Saturday Sharefest, Saturday Soiree, Saturday Situation,Heart Reflected, Recommendation Saturday, Still Saturday, Beauty Observed, Weekend No Rules Blog Hop, Fresh-brewed Sundays, Sunday Stillness, and The Sunday Community.

Renee Ann Smith

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I teach literature in a Christian high school by day and write inspirational fiction by night. I love to share heart-touching quotes and stories here on my blog. So glad you stopped by!

26 responses to Even the Least

  1. It is so easy to develop tunnel vision. We need to ask the Lord for eyes to see. Thank you for this reminder 🙂 and for stopping by, new friend!

  2. Thank you so much for this lovely post. The graphics are awesome. I think this is one of my favorite posts of yours. I loved your thoughts on teaching and looking at the students as children of God.
    Blessings for this one~

  3. I loved your message here! It’s easy as a teacher to let the students blur in your mind. This year instead of teaching I’ll send children to school. I’ll be remembering to bless their classmates. Thanks for the encouragement (and lovely pictures)

  4. Wow – a life-changing revelation to be sure. I think we probably all have something in our lives that we need to adjust our perspective on – excellent post, Renee!

  5. Wow! This stopped me in my tracks! What simple, yet absolutely profound truth! Thank you for sharing!

  6. This is so great! I’m sitting in a break in teacher meetings where we are talking about relationships with our students. Each studen’t’s name is Jesus Christ – I love it.
    Thanks for sharing this.

  7. Such a great reminder to me as I seek to start up school again. I’m not a school room teacher but I do homeschool. These truths help keep the bigger picture in focus in the midst of frustration which inevitably comes!

  8. Excellent advice/reminder you received! Whether in the classroom, grocery store, doctor’s office, or homeless shelter, our answer must be Jesus. How short I fall of the mark sometimes… Thanks for the encouragement tonight.

  9. This, here. A real wake-up call to us. And invitation of sorts from the One who knows us best.

    I’m glad I dropped in, Renee. Truly.

    Wednesday blessings …

  10. I’m always happy when I click the neighbor link and it is your lovely blog! You’re writing brings me back to days when I taught English–a long time ago now. How lucky your students are to have a teacher who has learned this profound lesson that applies in so many situations beyond teaching. Thanks for the reminder to love others as Christ. I’ll enjoy sharing your post on social media today and will send it to my cousin who just got her first teaching job!

  11. This is so beautiful. As I read this am I reminded of my Soldiers, especially the young ones, and how I do not think I ever saw them this way. Such food for thought. Thank you for the beautiful reminder.

  12. As I read this, I thought: What a wonderful influence you had on these beautiful students! Thanks for sharing your thoughts and heart here. Isn’t it wonderful that we are all brothers and sisters!

  13. “The name of every child in your classroom is Jesus Christ.” O! Wow!

  14. Renee, what a beautiful way to look at your students & approach teaching. Your students are blessed to have you. With the start of school, I cannot wait to share this post! Blessings!

  15. From beginning to end – and inbetween – such soul nutrient! Father Jude’s prayer especially – the visual of it, the humbleness and hope of it! I’m learning to see others how God sees them – and these perspectives are soul changing! Your post so blessed me! Thank you, Renee!

  16. My daughter began her student teaching this week and I’m eager to share this with her. I want to look at all people I meet in my day-to-day as if they are Jesus, too. ~Pamela

  17. Thanks for a lovely post – I really enjoyed reading your meditation!

  18. What an awesome story, Renee! It’s so easy to get “blinded” by the mission that we forget to see the people right in front of us. Thanks for reminding us all that people are always more important than our plans! Appreciate you linking up to Testimony Tuesday too!

  19. Thank you for these beautiful words! I was a teacher too, and often more task-driven than relationship-oriented. Often, the Holy Spirit reminded me, “…so from now on, we regard no one from a worldly point of view…” (2 Corinthians 5:16). Today, I’ll think of your post and remember to see the image of God in every person I encounter.
    Glad I found you through 3-D Lessons for Life – You have a lovely site here!

  20. Renee!!! This is my all time favorite post. That professor totally nailed it! Yes!! What a blessing God showed you this awesome truth. The flip side is also that you are Jesus to them. For any of us that work with children…we have the privilege to deeply impact thier soul life in such a way …they will carry our words for eternity. They watch our testimony like hawks. Thank you so much for posting this. I wish we could get it to viral. I love your heart sweet friend. Many blessings this weekend.

  21. I am also following you now on Networked Blogs. 🙂

  22. I’m a teacher, and this really touched my heart! This is the perfect message for me to hear as I go into this week. Thank you!

  23. Thank you so much for sharing with Adorned From Above’s Link Party
    Debi @ Adorned From Above

  24. You kids are wonderfully blessed to have you as a teacher. What a precious story. BTW, love the graphics with the raspberries.

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