by Adam Kronberger / Head of School
In our house we have a standing appointment each night at the dinner table for homework help. Quality time, practical tutoring, and plenty of unhealthy snacks are par for the course. For our family and probably many other families, much of the homework help surrounds the subject of math. For even the best of students, there is always a challenging problem that can stump a student...and a parent. As a math teacher I often experience a frustrating habit among students asking for help in my class. It often goes like this…
Student “Can you help me with #32?”
Teacher “Sure, what is the problem asking?”
Student “I don’t know.”
Teacher “Did you write the problem down? Did you draw a picture? Did you read the question more than once?”
Student “No, no, and no.”
A good math teacher will tell the passive student to spend more time investigating the math problem before asking for help. While it may seem a bit harsh, the teacher knows that teaching can only go so far without the student personally engaged in the learning. And the teacher is not leaving the student hung out to dry, for the teacher understands what the student knows and doesn’t know, and will fill in the blanks as needed.
Sometimes in life it is easy to give up on a challenge without putting any serious effort into it. There is no greater challenge that we face in life than the constant sin that plagues us. If you think quadratic equations are tough, try being perfect! And God does not give us a pass either, as Paul reminds us to “continue to work out our salvation with fear and trembling” (Philippians 2:12).
Just like the math teacher, God wants us to do are part. But how can that accomplish anything? Paul describes this in the next verse (Philippians 2:13) “for it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose.” Just as the math teacher has the knowledge, God has all the power. And just as the student must practice the knowledge that is taught, the believer must work God’s transforming power into their own lives.
There is an exciting phenomenon that often happens in a math classroom as the year proceeds. A student leaves their desk to ask the teacher for help, and just as they approach the teacher’s desk the light bulb goes off in their head on how to answer the problem and they return to their seat satisfied without even asking a question! The teaching and training of the teacher has taken its full effect in the active learning of the student. Even when they think they need help, they just need some time to reflect and synthesize what they have been taught. In the same way, as each of us actively approaches God with all of life’s troubles, the answers can arrive just on time through His Spirit having its full effect in our lives. At the core of working out one’s one salvation is a daily standing appointment with God...unhealthy snacks allowed.