When a Teacher Has Nothing Left to Give

There are days when I look at teaching and decide that there is no way I can do this. I’m pretty sure there is no way that anyone can do this!
How on earth am I supposed to teach Bible, Spelling, Handwriting, English, Math, Science, History, and Reading while meeting the physical, social, emotional, behavioral, and spiritual needs of all these students? In 7 hours a day!?! And that doesn’t even include the grading or lesson planning!

Teaching requires a lot of time and a lot of energy. There are simply not enough hours in the day to get it all done. There is just no way that you can have the wisdom to deal with all of the situations you come across day by day.  Some days you go, go, go – trying to meet the needs of your students, their parents,  your school, your family, and church.  And if you are like me, there are some days you feel like you have absolutely nothing left to give.

But I am reminded of some other exhausted teachers with some very limited resources…

We all remember the Sunday school story of the feeding of the 5,000. It was an incredible miracle and made for a great lesson!  However, have you ever thought about the events leading up to the miracle (Mark 6)?

Christ’s cousin, John the Baptist, had just been brutally executed.

The disciples had just returned from their journeys where they were teaching,healing, and casting out demons. They had been so busy that Scripture says, “they had no leisure even to eat” (v. 30).

They must have been exhausted from it all. And Christ invited them to get away and rest. He knew they needed a break.

Yet news got out, and when they arrive for their mini vacation, thousands of people are waiting there for them.

And Jesus doesn’t turn them away. He has compassion and begins to minister to them.

I can only imagine what went on in some of the disciples’ heads. I mean, if it were me, I would probably be fighting back tears or a temper tantrum (probably both). Lord, I have been so busy for you. I just needed this time to breathe. Can’t you tell all of these people to just wait until tomorrow?

So they minister to this crowd on the day that was supposed to be their rest day,  and near the end of a long day, Jesus asks them to do the impossible. Feed all of these people- 5,000 men plus their families.

I think I would have lost it.

How could Christ do that to them? They had been working so hard for Him, had spent their vacation ministering to people, and now He wants them to feed all of these people!

They check their resources – just a few loaves of bread and a few fish.

And Christ wants them to feed over 5,000 people with that?

Yet, look at what happens when the disciples bring their limited resources to Christ. He multiplies it…a lot. They had enough to complete the job Christ had given them…plus leftovers! They ended up with 12 extra baskets (hmm…enough for each disciple to take home a basket?)

Christ didn’t need the disciples, and he didn’t need those loaves and fishes to feed the 5,000. He chose to take those limited resources and do something incredible with them…something that pointed people to Him.

Sometimes in teaching, you will feel completely at the end of your rope. You will feel exhausted and you will have nothing left to give – your resources will look like those paltry loaves and fishes. You just don’t have enough time, energy, or wisdom to meet the demands of the job.

But when we turn to Christ with the little we do have, He multiplies it to become enough – no, more than enough!  He gives the grace for you to meet the obligations you have.  This is not to say that there are times that you need to get away, rest, or say “no” (that’s another post for another day). But I am reassuring you (and myself!) that God gives grace to do what He has called us to do today.

He calls us to do the impossible so He can show us His incredible power.

And He loves you so much that He isn’t going to just give you enough to meet the needs of others – He is going to take care of you and your needs, just as He did with the disciples. And when He does this, the glory goes to Him!

You don’t have to do today on your own – surrender your limitations to Christ and let Him do something amazing!

And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. II Corinthians 12:9

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  1. It’s like you stepped into my mind and the struggles in my heart. I am seeing that there is a lesson being shown about grace in my life if I am willing to see and learn it. Sometimes I feel like I am constantly giving grace to others and getting none in return, and it’s exhausting. It’s amazing how quickly pride, entitlement, and resentment blind me to seeing the grace given to me. But even more amazing is how God gently and tenderly restores my vision over and over again and gives me strength and GRACE for each new day in the classroom and in life. From one teacher to another. Thank you for sharing your story. I’m looking forward to reading more.

    1. Laura, thanks for sharing! You are so right – it IS exhausting when we focus on all that we are giving instead of what God is giving to us! Thanks again for sharing! I love hearing what God is doing in other’s lives! Keep serving Him!

  2. Oh my goodness….what perfect timing! I just found your blog today, and it is already one of my favorites! What a blessing you are!

    1. Emily, thanks for taking the time to stop by and for the encouragement! I am so glad that it’s been a blessing – God is so good, and I’m excited to see how He is working on others in the same areas He works on me 🙂