I heard about a Chamber of Commerce meeting where a group of 40-year-olds were sitting around a table. Most of them had attended the same high school. One of them was a young businessman who had made a lot of money. He wanted everyone to know he knew how to make money!
He then complained about the quality of the educational system in the community. He especially was hard on teachers. He even made the statement “we all know the old adage – those who can, do – others, teach.”
He then focused his attention on a former classmate sitting at the table who was a high school teacher. After a couple of comments about the small amount of money that is paid to teachers, he asked the teacher the following question. “Jim, what do you make?”
Jim thought a minute and then replied, “I make a lot of students see a better future for themselves. I make students think, dream, and question the status quo. I make students read, read, read. I make an average student realize that he can become something in life if he will take his God-given talents and utilize them. I make students apologize when they are wrong, and mean it. I make students understand the real values of life so that when somebody thinks a person’s worth is measured by how much money he makes, my student knows that that person just didn’t learn the real lessons of life. You asked me what I make – I make a difference. What do you make?”
Everyone can make a difference. Teachers have a unique opportunity. When I think back about the difference teachers and coaches made in my life, I spend a lot of time giving thanks. I just wish I had thanked more of them while they were still living.
Last Friday I was invited, by Greg Faulkner, a great leader among school superintendents, to speak to over 1,100 teachers and school personnel who begin school this week in the Autauga County School System. I tried to help them see what they can make. I was impressed and encouraged by my meeting with them.
The Prattville High School football coaching staff was all present. Jamey Dubose is the head coach. Last week Prattville was selected by USA Today as the pre-season number one high school football team in the USA! That is big! Coach Dubose invited me to come back and speak with the football team. He is interested in winning ballgames – but he is more interested in making a difference in the lives of young men!
A bad economy can affect how much we make financially, but won’t affect the difference we can make in peoples’ lives. Only a self-centered lifestyle can diminish the real difference we can make.
Proverbs 11:28, 30 reads, “Trust in your money and down you go! But the godly flourish like leaves in spring…The seeds of good deeds become a tree of life.” (NLT)
Jesus reminded us not to put our treasures here on earth because we can quickly lose them. (Matthew 6:19, 20) Making a difference for eternity is a gift that will keep on giving forever and ever and ever.
What do you make?