Editor’s note: Today marks the beginning of Teacher Appreciation Week! Use this devotion to thank and encourage all who teach in your ministry. And, if you’re looking for end-of-the-year teacher gifts, check out CTA’s website!
Suppose you wanted to send a message into the future, far into the future. Suppose you wanted that message delivered decades after you are already in eternity. How would you go about it?
One option might be to prepare a time capsule. The International Time Capsule Society (ITCS)—yes, that organization does actually exist—provides advice about what to do and what not to do in creating a time capsule.
The ITCS notes that time capsules are often lost due to thievery, secrecy, or poor planning. So if you bury your time capsule, don’t bury it too deep. It will be harder to find 20, 30, 50, or 100 years from now. You may want to include the site’s GPS coordinates in your will. Otherwise, no one will remember that it exists or know where to look for it. That would be poor planning!
But not as poor as that of the engineers from MIT who buried a time capsule under their new cyclotron in 1939. A cyclotron is a kind of particle accelerator, and it is heavy. Very heavy. The engineers scheduled their time capsule to be opened 50 years into the future. But when 1989 rolled around, no one remembered the time capsule. Later, when someone did remember, no one could figure out how to retrieve it. The cyclotron, you see, was no longer in use. However, it still weighed 18 tons and was still sitting on top of the time capsule.
So if we want to send a message into the future, far into the future, a time capsule may not be the best idea. In fact, there’s a much better way to send a message into the future—and each of you teachers here is already doing it!
Your students carry that message. They will go where you and I never will. They will talk with people we will never meet. They will influence a future we will never see. Teachers touch eternity—one heart, one child, one teen, one person at a time.
As time capsule enthusiasts curate the objects they want to send forward in time, they often choose items like the front page of a newspaper, a list of popular slang terms with definitions, or a recent technological gadget. Thirty years ago, they might have chosen floppy computer discs. Forty years ago, 8-track cartridges. Interesting, perhaps. But more or less trivial. Certainly, forgettable.
But as those who teach the faith, we send the most meaningful message of all into the future. The Holy Spirit hides it in the hearts of those we teach. There’s no chance it will be stolen or rusted or corroded. It’s the message of sin and grace, of guilt and forgiveness, of Jesus Christ crucified, risen, and living—for us!
That message will never grow old. It will never be trivial. It never gets outdated. It will never become a dusty relic on the heap of history. That message is life—eternal life—right now and forever to all who believe! That life is found in our Savior, Jesus Christ and only in him.
As we entrust that message to our students, we encourage them:
Be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus (2 Timothy 2:1 KJV).
And we take that encouragement to heart ourselves. Lesson by lesson, week by week, year by year, our Lord strengthens us. He reminds us that though we are sinners, Jesus died for us. He reminds us that the Word we speak is not our word, but his own powerful Word. He assures us that the seeds we sow will produce an abundant harvest.
Listen to these familiar promises. (Read Isaiah 55:10–11 and 1 Corinthians 15:58.)
Every lesson you teach, every conversation you have, every word of peace and encouragement you share sends a message into the future, far into the future. Decades after you are already in eternity, that message will still be at work. It will still be inviting repentance. It will still be bringing peace. It will still be creating and sustaining life—eternal life. What a privilege!
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