As a Seventh-day Adventist educator, I keep asking myself if our deportment as a community tends to strengthen or weaken the community. Each of us are part of the community, and have a part to play in the strength of the community. By extension, our schools too are agents designed to build community.
The Bible contains an abundance of stories that convey the theme of unity. The Garden of Eden was the first little community, Adam and Eve, and God deemed it good. Even in His last prayer in the Garden of Gethsemane, Christ’s burden was that his disciples continue to live united. The significance of this concern cannot be overestimated, since it was his last prayer. Sadly, centuries later we find ourselves creating more divisions than community.
We have sometimes allowed an altered version of our purpose to become our guide. It is important to remind ourselves of our purpose of building community, and to focus on that purpose. The following principles can be a good start for moving back toward our purpose:
Put on Love
“Above all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity” Colossians 3:14.
The struggle to put on genuine love is real for most of us. Nonetheless, with God’s grace and a constant desire to emulate Christ, the struggle may be overcome. As Christian educators, recognizing the significance of genuine love in the classroom and outside is paramount to building community.
“He has shown you, O mortal, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God” (Micah 6:8).
Micah instructs us to walk humbly as the Lord requires. It is only through humility that we can submit ourselves to a righteous God who provides us guidance. Humbly submitting to His counsel and reproof, we begin to see His will, which will lead us as we work on building community. In our schools and classrooms it would be beneficial to pursue humility at all times, serving others rather than ourselves.
Seek Mutual Benefit
“Let us therefore make every effort to do what leads to peace and to mutual edification” (Romans 14:19).
Living amidst people, seeking one’s own benefit comes easy. Even within educational institutions, some of us are quick to further our cause even at the cost of others. Such choices lead to disharmony, distorting our purpose. Working together benefits everyone involved and also moves us toward our purpose.
God didn’t intend eternity without community. Therefore, just as Christians are called to build community, so are Christian educational institutions. As Adventist educators, may we seek to build each other up.