I am currently teaching a unit on Romeo and Juliet to my English 1 classes. I’m constantly changing my units and adapting them each year, so I rarely teach the same exact unit twice. This is my fourth year teaching the unit, and this has been my favorite. I love teaching; I love the potential I see in my students and working to pull that potential out. Am I crazy for giving this up? For sacrificing something I love? Even though teaching is a tremendous amount of stress and work, I really do love the classroom.
Isn’t this what God wants? He wants us to sacrifice for him. When Jesus called his disciples, he asked them to leave everything behind: family, wealth, homes, jobs. In Mark 10, Jesus is teaching that it is impossible to earn eternal life, but that it can only be accepted by giving your life to Christ, Peter reminded Jesus that they had given everything to follow their Lord. “‘Truly I tell you,” Jesus replied, “no one who has left home or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or fields for me and the gospel will fail to receive a hundred times as much in this present age: homes, brothers, sisters, mothers, children and fields—along with persecutions—and in the age to come eternal life’” (Mark 10:29-30).
Strangely enough, the fact that I love teaching reassures me that this is the right decision for me, to give up something I love for the Lord. We see this concept in the tradition of giving something up for lent. The purpose is to sacrifice something that you love to have some partial, minute understanding of the sacrifice God made through his son’s death. I love teaching. God’s asking me to give that up so that I can follow him completely. We’d like to ignore the last item in the list of things we will receive hundredfold when we give entirely to the Lord – persecutions. I know that this will not be easy; I know the devil will try to tempt me and my family away – he doesn’t want us to follow God’s leading. However, the focus is not on this world and these persecutions; the focus is on eternal life with Christ. Each day I strive to be like my loving Lord who sacrificed the person he loved most, his son, on an awful cross so that we can have salvation. Though I can’t fully understand that sacrifice nor will I ever be able to sacrifice something in my life that compares to that gift, I will follow the example in a much smaller way. I will give up what I love to serve the Lord and obey what he is asking me to do. I will give up teaching to follow him. God doesn’t ask us all to give up our jobs, though. Maybe he’s asking you to do something on a smaller scale (reach out to a co-worker, lead a team in prayer, or give up an extra-activity that consumes too much of you). We can do big things in little ways when God is behind them.
I know that resigning is the crazy thing God is asking me to do, and I truly don’t know what the next step is. Maybe he’ll plop me right back into a classroom through a different role, or allow me to teach about his love in a different way, or give me the chance to love on my own kids at home. I am crazy for giving up teaching (something I love) — I’m crazy about fulfilling God’s purpose in my life and letting him lead.