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“Unless the Lord builds the house”

My wife gave me a “verse of the day” this morning — this isn’t habitual, and she had a slight grin on her face when she read it for me. But as she was reading Psalm 127:1-2, and as I was reflecting on it afterwards, this small act on her part was a beautiful picture of how God makes the husband-wife relationship one of necessary interdependence.

First, the passage: “Unless the Lord builds the house, those who build it labor in vain. Unless the Lord watches over the city, the watchman stays awake in vain. It is vain that you rise early and go late to rest, eating the bread of anxious toil; for He gives to His beloved sleep.”

The revolutionary nature of this verse on where my heart has been cannot be overstated. It is good for us to labor–clearly, this verse supports that. However, it is fleeting, pointless, without lasting value, IF I do it apart from the simple belief that God, not me, will make the labor beneficial.

For example, when I sit down to grade a pile of essays, I am daunted. This is largely because I feel that my grading is the only factor that will impact my students’ writing. And, while I need to be ever pursuing a form of writing feedback that most benefits my students, I am not grading in a Christ-exalting way if I believe that my feedback effectiveness is the only factor that will impact my students. This is obvious in any school: some of the most technically sound writing feedback practices yield relatively small results, and some of the most technically unsound practices yield inordinately large results. There are factors at play in any classroom that are intangible; in my classroom, I must remind myself that that factor is and always has been God.

For the skeptic, this faith need not cause squirminess: what is the problem with a teacher who is dedicated to excellence, but who also does not suffer burn-out because he/she is not placing impossible pressure on him/herself? Such faith encourages the flourishing of both student and teacher.

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About davestuartjr
Dave Stuart Jr. is a full-time teacher who writes about becoming better, saner teachers at TeachingtheCore.com. He is a follower of Jesus Christ, a husband to Crystal, and a father to Hadassah, Laura, and Marlena.

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