A More Excellent Way

Wednesday, May 24, 2023
Listen to this devotional:
Listen while you read: "Faith Of Our Fathers"1 (Lyrics)

When I taught French many years ago, one of the boys in my class failed a test. The next day, his mother came to me and made a startling request: "Mrs. B, would you let Ethan take his test again?" I had never had anyone ask me that before, and it took me by surprise. Deviations from the norm throw me off. That's not the way to do things! I thought. Various objections ran through my head. He should have turned his assignments in. He should have paid more attention in class. He should have studied harder. To let him take the test again seemed unfair to the other students who had done all the right things. I wrestled with my thoughts for a few moments. Grudgingly, I agreed. "All right," I said. "Ethan can take the test again tomorrow."

He took the test the next day and did better the second time around. His mother was happy, and possibly Ethan's estimation of me went up a notch.

Galatians 5:1 – So Christ has truly set us free. Now make sure that you stay free, and don't get tied up again in slavery to the law. (NLT)

As a teacher at a Christian school, I had the authority to make the rules and evaluate students in the ways that I deemed best. I had the right to "go by the book". But was it always the best way? According to 1 Corinthians 12:31b, there is "a more excellent way." I could use my discretion in this tricky situation, and didn't have to be rigid in my thinking.

Showing him grace in letting him retake the test was crucial. He was only a young believer in Christ. What was important was how I came across to him as a follower of Jesus. Was I going to show him the grace that Jesus shows me, day after day?

1 Corinthians 8:13b – I don't want to cause another believer to stumble. (NLT)

Galatians 5:13b – But don't use your freedom to satisfy your sinful nature. Instead, use your freedom to serve one another in love. (NLT)

Insisting on rigid adherence to the rules and thinking that I always had the right solution was not freedom in Christ. I didn't want my student to get the wrong impression of God's ways. I had to act in love for his sake, so that he would understand one of the main themes of the Bible, that there was freedom in the Christian faith.

In any situation involving people, we can stick to the rules, or we can show the grace of God. None of us deserved it, but God poured out His love for us by allowing His only Son to die a cruel death, so that we could live a different kind of life. Let that be our challenge, that in serving others, we demonstrate to them the grace that God has so freely shown us.

Prayer: Thank You, Jesus, for Your more excellent way. Help us to act in love and compassion for others, as You have extended grace to us. In Your name, we pray. Amen.

Forward this devotional     Share this devotional on Facebook     Like PresbyCan on Facebook

About the author:

Alice Burnett <terrencera.burnett@gmail.com>
Red Deer, Alberta, Canada

Send your feedback to the author

1 Comment

  • PresbyCan Feedback says:

    Alice – an excellent thought-provoking message. God Bless you.

    Thanks for your devotional.
    We all need a second chance.

    An important message and reminder for us all. Thanks and blessings Alice!

    As a teacher at a Christian school, I too have faced similar grace situations, Alice.

    As a retired teacher, you did what Jesus would want you to do – show compassion not blind obedience to rules.

    Thank you, Alice. Great challenge: Let that be our challenge, that in serving others, we demonstrate to them the grace that God has so freely shown us.

    Yes, Amen, thank you so much for the messages you are able to send to us!!
    (N. S.)

    I was led to encourage you as I know you are led by the Holy Spirit as you teach and minister to your students.
    Bless you.

    That is quite a story. I wonder how many teachers would have the wisdom and faith to respond as you did. Thank you for sharing.

    Alice, how we need to choose the “more excellent” way of love instead of rules! That’s the key to how to live. Thank you for reminding me of that today.

    Thank you, Alice, for sharing this encouraging devotional with us. I can remember a time when a teacher worked with me during recess to help me comprehend the task before me. She made a huge difference in my life!

    Good morning, Alice.
    Oh, how I wish I had that opportunity years ago to do my exam over again!! Your decision made an incredible impression on this young boy’s heart I am sure and to this day.
    God bless.

    Fine use of scripture in this teaching. So often scripture is used in a very negative legalistic way. Your message portrays Jesus as He is. Did your decision fall in line with the fruit of the Spirit? Sure did.
    Thank you, dear lady.

    Greetings Alice and thanks for sharing this situation you experienced during your teaching time. I feel you really did the right thing in allowing him to rewrite the test as there might have been some upset happen in his life on same morning of the test that distracted his mind. Our Lord has an open heart of understanding for us, and He is most likely pleased when we show that same kindness to others. Blessings for these special writings you contribute.

    Good morning, Alice,
    I like the passage you cited “don’t get tied up again in slavery to the law.” So often we seem to get bogged down with the “we have always done it that way” or this is what the rules say. Good to see that you were able and allowed to make a personal decision.
    Thank you for writing these good words.

    Good morning, Alice,
    It is always interesting to hear other perspectives in order to grow in our faith. Definitely you showed your faith.
    Sometimes I lose perspective and forget that the true value is in the learning and not in the strict following of rules. I forget how much Grace that God gives me each and every day and I need to pass that grace along to others.
    Once I missed a section of an exam and I was called in the next day by the teacher. I was allowed to write that section at that exact moment because they believed I knew it and had just missed it for some reason. I had no idea that they did things like that, but I was told it was not uncommon.
    Thank you for sharing how you looked at this situation. Blessings.

    Good for you, Alice.
    I was a stickler for exactness. As an adult student I lost a mark on a question on an exam. I spoke with the teacher and said, “this is how I interpreted that question.”
    She said, “I can see what you mean, the question was ambiguous, and your answer would be correct.” I asked for the mark to be adjusted and she refused, “it doesn’t matter, you have an A anyway.” I really wanted the 100% score, and I was offended that it didn’t matter to her when it was so important to me.
    Thank you for honouring your students and helping them to have some self-esteem by giving them another chance.

    Thanks for a good word today, Alice.
    This story brought back memories for me. I had a very kind and wise teacher in grade twelve who insisted that l be tested in regards to a learning disability, something brand new way back then! The principal and my parents finally agreed. The test revealed very specific language problems. Because of this it was ruled by the school that l could never be docked more than 9 marks on any exam for spelling or grammatical errors. Due to this ruling my grades not only greatly improved but l also stood first in my grade level in English literature that year.
    I am glad that you were wise and kind in regards to the situation you faced with that young boy. You may never know the difference your decision made in his life.
    Of all the teachers l had, l have always remembered and loved one teacher the best. What she did for me in regards to insisting on the testing and then fighting for me when the results came in, was the beginning of a major shift in how l regarded myself and my intelligence…. l wasn’t stupid after all, just different…and different, in God’s hands can become a really wonderful thing.
    Today we received the final assessment on our little granddaughter, who has inherited my problem. She has been diagnosed as severe, which is hard to bear, at this time. Our location, however, allows her to receive the kind of help she needs to be able to be the best she can be. With God’s help l am praying that things will be much easier and far less lonely for her, then they were for me as l was growing up.

    Hi Alice,
    Thank you for your devotional and your desire to honour Jesus and not rules.
    Your devotional brought back a bad memory for me from grade 2. I remember it so clearly, I can still see it.
    This experience was especially painful because the teacher had expressed that she trusted me which made me proud but after this experience I couldn’t help but wonder what she REALLY thought of me.
    Teachers can have a huge influence on their students.
    Thank you for showing fairness to this student.
    God bless.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Next Post

PresbyCan is a community of faithful, Holy Spirit-filled, Christ-centred, God-honouring Christians.