An interesting incident was related by Fayetteville, N.C., preacher Alan Smith on his devotional website.
A group of dinner guests were sitting around a table discussing life. A CEO decided to explain the problem with education. He argued, "What's a kid going to learn from someone who decided his best option in life was to become a teacher?" He reminded the other dinner guests what they say about teachers: "Those who can, do. Those who can't, teach." To stress his point, he said to another guest, "You're a teacher, Susan. Be honest. What do you make?"
Susan, who had a reputation for honesty and frankness, replied, "You want to know what I make? I make kids work harder than they ever thought they could. I make a C+ student feel like the winner of the Congressional Medal of Honor. I make kids sit through 40 minutes of study hall in absolute silence.
"You want to know what I make? I make kids wonder. I make them criticize. I make them apologize and mean it. I make them write. I make them read, read, read. I make them show all their work in math and perfect their final drafts in English. I make them understand that, if you have the brains and follow your heart, and if someone ever tries to judge you by what you make, you must pay no attention because they just didn't learn." Susan paused, then continued. "You want to know what I make? I make a difference. What do you make?"
Application 1: There are people in the world who seem to find some perverse pleasure in putting people down in front of others. Regardless of what we think of Susan’s response, many would agree the CEO got what he deserved.
Application 2: Susan’s view of the value of the teaching profession is absolutely true. There are some poor teachers. Not everyone who enters the field does so with the best motives — but most do. Most are honest, hard-working and unselfish. Most want to accomplish the most possible in educating students, not only academically, but in life values as well. And most know they’re doing what the job calls for.
Application 3: It’s difficult to overestimate the value of honest labor in a field that benefits others as well as one's self. Regardless of the nature of the work, everyone should do their best. If your job is in the field of education, auto mechanics, information systems, trash collections or ditch digging, do your best to be the best you can be. Find out all you can about the need for the job you’ve been hired to do, and use that knowledge as motivation to do your best.
Solomon wrote, “Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with your might” (Ecclesiastes 9:10). The apostle Paul, concerning the attitude Christian slaves should have, said, “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving” (Colossians 3:23–24 NIV).
All of us make a difference in life. But is the difference positive or negative?