Getting into good habits for the new school year
A new school year has arrived in Newton County. Students are starting a new year with new teachers. Some may be starting in new schools. I believe this is a time to encourage students to start new practices. These can be better study habits, extracurricular activities (sports, drama, etc.), or new relationships.
Relationships can be one of the most important things during our school years. Friends influence us whether we like it or not. People have either a positive or negative effect on our lives. For now, let us focus on the positive. We can talk about the negative another day.
One of my favorite stories about Jesus is when he meets Zacchaeus. Zacchaeus was a Jewish tax collector. During Zacchaeus’ time, being a tax collector was not good for your popularity. Tax collectors were considered the worst of the worst. Tax collectors were likened to thieves because they basically were. With Zacchaeus being Jewish he was even worse because he stole from his own people. He was probably the most hated person in his town.
In Luke 19:1-10 Jesus goes to Jericho and, as usual, people were crowding around him. These people had already heard of Jesus and what he was doing. Zacchaeus wanted to see as well. The only problem is that Zacchaeus was a short man. So, he decided to climb a sycamore tree to get a better look at this Jesus guy. When Jesus saw Zacchaeus, Jesus looked up in the tree and said, “Zacchaeus, hurry and come down because today I must stay at your house.”
Why did Jesus have to stay at this guy’s house? Zacchaeus was probably the most disliked man in town. Nobody stayed at Zacchaeus house. Zacchaeus was a traitor and a thief. Nobody likes a traitor or a thief. Jesus did. Let that soak in for a minute. Jesus stayed at Zacchaeus house. Jesus loved this traitor and thief. Jesus is not a nobody, he is Jesus.
Jesus reached out to the most disliked person in this town. Let’s be honest, he was not just disliked he was hated. The entire town hated Zacchaeus. No one in this town had time for him. Why waste your time with someone nobody likes? Jesus did. Why should we “waste” our time with someone nobody likes? Because Jesus did.
We need to reach out to those that the world hates or doesn’t have time for. When we do this our children will see us do this. Our children need to see this. We need to encourage them to do it. There are children and teenagers that go to schools every day that are bullied or shunned or whatever word you want to use, just because they are different. These students need to be loved the way Jesus loved Zacchaeus. It can make all the difference in the world to them. We need to show our children how to do this by doing it ourselves, because it is not always as easy. By seeing us do this they will hopefully mirror what we do, just like we should mirror what Jesus did.
Plato said, “All men are by nature equal, made all of the same earth by one Workman; and however we deceive ourselves, as dear unto God is the poor peasant as the mighty prince.” This still rings true today. Let us show our students by example.