what star?

Feb 11, 2018

Teachers in all New Zealand schools have a tough vocation. Their passion for education of the young has led them to the classroom where they often find themselves caught between the needs of their students, the expectations of parents, and the requirements of national standards.

In the midst of these immediate demands it is easy to lose sight of and energy for the breadth and depth of education as an introduction to the totality of reality.

The same challenges exist for teachers in schools where Jesus Christ is the heart of their mission.

I was moved to read one local principal’s inspiring letter to the school community as the new school year began a couple of weeks ago.

Let’s keep all those who work in our school, teachers, administrators and Boards of Trustees in our prayer throughout this year.

Here’s the letter (with a couple of sentences relating to practical beginning-of-school-year arrangements deleted).

Dear Parents and Caregivers

A very warm welcome to Parents and Caregivers for a new school year!

‘What star have you chosen to follow in your life?’
‘What star are you messaging to your children to follow in 2018?’

We read in Matthew 2:2 that the Wise Men (Magi) asked this question – ‘Where is the one who has been born King of the Jews? We saw his star in the east and have come to worship him.’

The wisdom of the Magi was greater than just the intellectual knowledge and understanding in which they were highly regarded. Their wisdom was shown in the knowledge that the King of the Jews had been born and they understood this to mean the Messiah of humanity had been born. Truly, that is what made them wise!

They followed the star to the Messiah and their purpose was to worship him, the Messiah.

Now, before you start to think this is a Christmas message, I want to ask the questions again.

‘What star have you chosen to follow in your life?’
‘What star are you messaging to your children to follow in 2018?’

There are many stars we could follow. Is our star success? Is our star to honour and praise? Is our star our career? Riches? Pleasures? For our children, are we intentionally or unintentionally giving them the message that the star they should follow is academic success, first in class or leadership positions?

None of these ‘stars’ in themselves are bad. But when they become our Number 1 Star, our goal for the year, then we are in many ways becoming idolatrous. We ‘worship’ the wrong star. Our goal for ourselves and for our children is, as the Wise Men did, to worship him, Christ. Then we will truly be wise. If Christ is the ‘star’ we follow first and foremost, then all the other stars are in their rightful place…

… Parents, as you chat with your son or daughter about their hopes and aspirations for 2018, begin with the desire for a deepening walk with Christ, an awareness of who God is that can be revealed through their learning, then spend time discussing their other schooling goals and aspirations.

As a school, we too face the ‘chasing of stars’, especially temporary stars. We are in the season of schools comparing their academic results (NCEA) to see who was ‘most successful’. While these do give an indication of quality learning, it shows evidence only of the mind (intellectual) growth. What is not seen or easily measured is the impact a school has on the hearts of its pupils. For us … our heart is for your child’s heart, first and foremost. A heart attuned to God will use the intellectual / sporting / cultural artistic giftings for their God ordained purposes. That is the star we are following here – one that points to Christ.

May the Lord bless each one of you as we partner together with Christ in the education of your child.

To him be the glory.


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