Paying Back Your Instructors


How many of your teacher’s names can you remember?

I am positively TERRIBLE with names, but I can still remember many of my teachers.

Mrs. Head, my 6th grade teacher who gave me extra attention.

Mrs. Gerling, my 8th grade English teacher who sent me to the principal’s office. (I deserved it)

Mr. Waccholz, my 10th grade biology teacher, who talked way too much about spiders for my comfort.

My education adds up to 13 years of teachers, plus college and seminary.  That must be close to 50 people who helped to teach me and guide me along the way.

Well, the scripture above talks about instructors.  It makes it sound like I owe them something.

It says I’m supposed to “share all good things” with my instructors!

Actually, on a second reading I realize we’re talking about instructors in the Word–so maybe I’m indebted not only to my school teachers, but also my Sunday School teachers!

(How many Sunday School teachers can you name?)

And not just Sunday School teachers, but also Pastors, I suppose.  Pastors did a lot to instruct me in the Word.

And parents and grandparents.  They taught me how to read and how to pray.

And there were certainly others along the way.  Yikes!

Are you telling me I’m supposed to share all the good things that have happened to me with all of these people?


Here’s what you do:  Get out your checkbook.

Whatever your bank account is right now, split it into about 60 amounts.

Can you imagine what your 11th grade physics teacher’s response would be if she opened up an envelope and there was a check inside and a note from you that said, “Thanks for instructing me”?

Actually, that would be kind of cool, but I’m not sure that’s what the passage has in mind.

I think it means celebrating that you have learned with the people who have taught you.

That you have learned.  That a connection was made.  Information retained.  Wisdom acquired.

That efforts to teach you were at least partially successful.  That the learning has been passed on, from one generation to the next.

You may not remember all your teacher’s names (I only remember about half), and you may live far from where you went to school.  Maybe enough time has passed that your teachers are long since departed.

How do we pay them back?

I’ll tell you what. Why don’t we try to share our thanks?

Let’s simply thank our teachers for teaching, and keep them in our prayers.

Not just our teachers, but all teachers.

That may not seem like much, but the simple acknowledgment that teaching is making a difference may be all most teachers ever need shared with them.

Now if you want to write them a check, that’s entirely your call.

Have a great week,


Teacher Subway Sign

7 Ways to THANK Outside The Box



Has another Thanksgiving rolled around to find you thankful of the same things as last year?  (Let me guess:  Friends, Family, God, and Good Health)

There’s nothing wrong with that, of course.  Those are are some darn fine things to be thankful for.

But this year, let’s think outside the box a little.  The following list is designed to help us stretch our thankfulness a bit, in some ways we might not always think of.  Ready to THANK outside the box?

7 Ways to THANK outside the box

  1.  THANK a soldier.

img04 has been responsible for sending more than 7 million letters of thanks to our soldiers.  Check out the site for information about how to put your letter in a soldier’s hands.


2.  THANK a teacher.


Remember how great your 5th grade teacher Mrs. Janezik was?  Let her know! is an easy way to let a teacher know you appreciate them.  Put in your name, pick their school, write your thanks, and this site will get the thank-you to them.


THANK local.


In the mad rush of post Thanksgiving shopping, the little guys can get overlooked.  Instead, be intentional about buying at least some of your gifts from local merchants.  It’s good for the economy and can be a needed boost for smaller stores.  In 2010 American Express created Small_Business_Saturday as a yearly reminder.


THANK a wrestling partner


No, not actual wrestling (although, why not!).  Think of the person or people whom you’ve wrestled with intellectually or spiritually, and thank them for how you’ve grown from it.  That friend from college you always find yourself debating religion with?  Thank them for the wrestle.  That co-worker who always keeps you on your toes?  Thank them for the wrestle.   They just might thank you back.


THANK God for Tuesdays


For some reason, TGIT has never caught on as much as TGIF.  Of course, it’s easy to thank God for Fridays — it’s the end of the week, time to let your hair down.  But why not try to thank God for all the other days, even the Tuesdays.   Your deliberate gratitude for a day in the middle of the week might just alter your own appreciation of it.


THANK a checkout clerk



It’s gonna be busy in all the stores, so as you go through the check-out line, why not take a cold drink out of the cooler at the end of the aisle, pay for it with your groceries, and then tell your checkout clerk that you got it for them as a thank you for their hard work.


THANK a writer



In the past year, did you read something that made an impact on your life?  A devotion book, a novel, maybe a passage of scripture?  I’ll bet the author would love to hear from you.  If they’re alive, you could write to them care of the publisher, or many authors have their own websites.  And if, as in the case of the scriptures, the author is long since gone, you could say a prayer of thanksgiving, or even write out a few sentences to share on your Facebook page.


There are obviously lots more than 7 ways to THANK outside the box this year.  Whichever new ways you choose to show your thanks, you’ll find yourself blessed as well.  Gratitude has a habit of filling lots of hearts, including the giver’s.

May you have a wonderful Thanksgiving, and THANK YOU for reading!