Our stove was less than a year old when the electric starter went out. For a girl who doesn't like matches, I had a few words to say to my stove but I eventually adapted. Then my neighbor, who bought the same stove at the same time as I did, started having trouble with her oven door opening. Even taking extra care while using my oven door did not prevent mine from eventually breaking. At first, the door just needed a little finesse to shut. Then it needed some filing on the hinges to overcome the broken plastic gear. Each time the oven door gave me trouble I was usually in the middle of baking cookies or muffins but my DH graciously tried to come up with some fix. This last time he ended up sawing through one hinge and attaching a spring. He seriously thought about us getting a new stove. Getting a new stove seems a little extreme for a broken door but then if you can't use your oven that can be challenging. So we are hoping this fix works until we are ready for a new stove.
I work at an international school where we incorporate character education into our curriculum. Each day as we teach our subjects, we talk about respect and living for more than me. Some days it seems like the lesson is getting through and other days it is like we are talking to a brick wall. We see a problem or area that needs worked on with our students and we try to come up with some type of fix. For example, for cheating we have tough consequences, cover sheets and even different versions of our tests. What we really desire is for the students to take pride in their work and to choose not to cheat because that is the right thing to do. How is this like my stove? As we try to build character in our students, we are often creating fixes just as we did with my oven door. What I really need is a new oven door. What my students need is a new heart. So is our work all for nothing? No, I don't think so. It is just a reminder during this Christmas season why Jesus came. He came for true change. Jesus came and showed us we needed to change and that it was possible through him. Talking about character helps our students see that their is a better way and hopefully the conversations can lead to something eternal. The lesson for me is that I need to keep at it. I will get frustrated when students still choose to cheat or not respect each other. I will sigh when I say the same thing over and over again. But I will remember that only God can bring true change and I need to pray for that change. Each day as I open and close my oven door, I can pray for this change of heart and also that my door will continue to work.
Dear God, Thank you for how you don't just patch up our heart. You give us a new heart. We are yours. We are new creatures in Christ. I pray this for my students. I pray not just for their character to change but for their whole live to change because of Jesus' work on the cross. Amen