Col 3 :17   And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him

School has started again.  I was nervous yesterday, during our teacher workday.  The idea of facing 6 preps made me doubt whether I could pull it off, again.  Of course I know that I can trust God to stretch my time and help me.  But facing my fears again, I realized that in actuality, I am no better than an unbeliever.

How is that?  In writing our son Wes who just started Ranger School, I was researching the actual meaning of the Hebrew word to trust (betach-  Strong’s #982).  It is found all over the OT, but I was encouraging Wes with the Isaiah verse 26:3 – You will keep him in perfect peace him whose mind is stayed on You because he TRUSTS You.

The word for trust suggests that confident and happy feeling of peace that one has when one can rely on someone completely.  Who wouldn’t want that!

This morning as I was meditating about school, I realized that I don’t REALLY trust God, because that kind of peace was absent.  Then while listening to a sermon about Boaz and Ruth, I heard the pastor explain the extraordinary results of several small moments of faithful action on the part of Boaz.  He trusted God in ordinary moments and did what was righteous.  The marvelous results from his ordinary obedience in the moment created a lineage leading to David.  Ultimately the birth of Jesus, a descendent of David,  resulted from Boaz’ faithful and kind attitude toward Ruth.

Suddenly, in a flash, I saw that what I needed to trust God for has NOTHING to do with me being a competent teacher.  My responsibility is to act faithfully in the moment, whether that means slowing down and listening to a student for 30 seconds, really hearing the pain in a colleague’s voice and responding appropriately, thanking a friend for a kindness, ordering my desk before I leave school, adopting a cheerful demeanor, or culling all complaining from my thoughts.  If I am faithful in the small moments that come to me like the waves upon the shore, then God will help me with the bigger stuff, the French and logic lessons to plan and deliver.

The pressure seemed to lessen immediately.  My insight reminded me of an essay I read earlier in the week about the 10,000 moment rule.  You might have heard of Malcolm Gladwell’s book Outliers?  He talks about how gifted performers or successful people seem to have practiced their art for 10,000 hours.  This qualification applies to the Beatles, to Canadian ice hockey players, violinists or even computer gurus like Bill Gates, you name it.  Paul Tripp’s version is less intimidating and more accessible.  He says that 10,000 moments (basically a large #) create a habit.  Each little seemingly incidental moment actually does count, because it is one more link in a chain, thereby forging a habit or character trait.

So how I act faithfully in the moment at school vis-à-vis my environment (people) is more important than my supposed-all-important-polished French lesson.  Here I’ve been stressing over my ‘skills’, when all God wants me to do is live each moment righteously (‘making right decisions that honor God’- Ruth Graham’s definition) and trust Him for the rest.

I can do that….with God’s help.  Ultimately, it’s not about me and my needs, but about the more extensive picture/ scene that is going on all around me.  God has thousands of characters for whom He is working out His purposes.  May I be faithful to the role He has me to play.

Here is the link to the piece I read by Paul Tripp:   Essay about 10,000 moments