Called To Serve Humbly
By Matthew Moyer
Galatians 5:13 – You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh ; rather, serve one another humbly in love.
Dr. Jeffrey Sparagana, my Superintendent, mentor, and friend, always told me, “Serving in education is a calling—a vocation.” Working in a school, regardless of the position, certainly is a calling. Dr. Sparangana helped me realize the importance of being called to serve in education. Every educator must recognize this. We were each created to do this important and vital work. Educators were born to teach children, and help build a better and brighter future.
Working in education requires us all to be servant leaders. It requires us to focus on people—kids and families. We focus on building strong families, strong communities, and strong futures! We do this rather than focusing on products, making a profit, or test scores. You can only do this if you embrace teaching as a calling instead of a job. Regardless of what position you fill in a school, this is true. From the custodian, the secretary, assistants, teachers, and principals, we must all commit to serving others. We need to have a servant’s heart which places serving others at the forefront of all that we do. Everyone in education is a servant leader. We serve children; we serve each other. Educators constantly put the needs of others before their own. They give of themselves freely.
Called to Serve
As the principal of a high poverty school, I stay for one reason, and one reason only. I stay because I am called to serve the children and families. I believe that God has called me to serve the students, parents, and community of my school. This calling empowers me to make a difference not just for a day, a week, or a year, but for eternity. I could work in other districts where I’d have less stress, more resources, and definitely higher pay, but I stay because I believe I’m called to make a difference in the lives of these students. The teachers and support staff stay because they too are called to serve this community. We all know that while the challenges are great, the rewards are also many. Serving these children gives our life a greater meaning and we are serving a greater purpose.
All schools are special. If you are putting students first, you are following a calling. Educators are highly skilled. They could take these skills to many different careers and be very successful. However, they know that they are building the future in their work. Educators understand that they must teach, because they were called to do so. Some have fought this calling but eventually understood what they were made to do. They understand this isn’t just a job. They know that serving their students is at the core of who they are. They care for them as they would their own children. They love them as a parent does their own child.
Making A Difference
Certainly you don’t have to work in a high poverty school to demonstrate this level of being called to the profession. There are educators all over this country who commit their lives to serving children. Each school has their own unique challenges, and each child has their own unique needs. The people who work in schools dedicate their time to helping meet these challenges, and building a better future. Teachers often put their own needs and the needs of their family aside so they can serve their students. Long hours preparing lessons, grading papers, and attending events for their students demonstrate this regularly. The Bible is filled with passages that remind us of the importance of caring for our children. It is a select group that are called to do this. Educators serve our children in a special way, and this requires us to use the special gifts God has given us. Reflect on the calling that God has given you, be grateful for your opportunity to nurture your students, and realize that what you are doing is making a huge difference in the lives of the students in your classroom and school. It is rare that educators get acknowledged for their service, but this doesn’t stop our dedication to the profession and to the kids. We are each called to humbly serve God by serving our children. The occasional display of appreciation, the quick visit from a former student, or the parent we run into in the grocery store that says “Thank You!” are great reminders of the impact our service has. Our thanks come from knowing the good work we have done.
As it says in Galatians 5:13- You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh; rather, serve one another humbly in love.
Principal of Rupert Elementary School, an Education Professor at Montgomery County Community College, National Speaker, and Associate for Thom Stecher and Associates. Matthew is a Nationally Distinguished Principal, and Principal of the Year for Pennsylvania this year.
Mr. Matthew Moyer, is an elementary principal at Rupert Elementary School in Pottstown, Pennsylvania. With over 22 years of experience in education, Matt brings a powerful and empowering message to school leaders and other educators. He specializes in building relationships to strengthen learning, leading kids to overcome the challenges of poverty, leading in an urban learning environment, and how to strengthen learning at all levels. His engaging, humorous, and relational approach to presenting is well received by participants.