A Spanking From My Teacher
Updated: Jul 25, 2020
I had just transferred to a different school and my first-grade teacher was evaluating my reading. She tried me in several reading groups to determine where I should be placed. Because I liked the remedial reading teacher better, I argued with my teacher about which class I should attend. She knew I read better than many in my class, so she wouldn’t let me stay in the remedial group. Because I continued to argue with her, she spanked me. It was rumored the principal spanked harder than my teacher, so I chose not to argue with her again.
That spanking taught me a valuable lesson about applying myself in school and in life. My parents were much the same. My sisters and I were not allowed to be lazy or sloppy about anything we did. My teacher saw potential and wouldn’t allow me to coast. She pushed me to excel. And that is what God calls us to do as well.
We are called to “Apply your heart to instruction and your ear to words of knowledge.” (Proverbs 23:12). When we apply ourselves to learning and growing in the things of God, we walk in diligence. Diligence can be defined as focusing my effort on the work at hand. Being diligent produces benefits promised in several verses from Proverbs.
Proverbs 13:4, “The soul of the sluggard craves and gets nothing, while the soul of the diligent is richly supplied.”
Proverbs 12:24, “The hand of the diligent will rule, while the slothful will be put to forced labor.”
Proverbs 12:27, “Whoever is slothful will not roast his game, but the diligent man will get precious wealth.”
Proverbs 10:4, “A slack hand causes poverty, but the hand of the diligent makes rich.”
Proverbs 21:5, “The plans of the diligent lead surely to abundance, but everyone who is hasty comes only to poverty.”
As I reflected on the Proverbs 23:12 verse about applying my heart to instruction, the following verse jumped off the page. Verse 13 says, “Do not withhold discipline from a child; if you strike him with a rod, he will not die.” I found that somewhat humorous in light of my teacher’s application of discipline back in the first grade. And it certainly worked in my case. That moment taught me a powerful lesson on applying myself to study. That instruction in diligence carried over to other areas of my life and was reinforced in many events over the past fifty years.
Do you apply your heart to instruction? When you work on a task, do you work with a focused effort? God calls us to put the effort in, but also promises great rewards to those of us who are diligent. Spend some time today asking God to reveal any areas of your life where a little more focus may be beneficial in your life. The promises of riches won’t all be financial. Your relationships, your health, your career, and your family may be enriched as well.