Sunday, July 27, 2008

And What Should I Do?

John said, "The axe is already at the root of the trees, and every tree that does not produce good fruit will be cut down and thrown into the fire."
"What should we do then?" the crowd asked.
John answered, "The man with two tunics should share with him who has none, and the one who has food should do the same."
Tax collectors also came to be baptized. "Teacher," they asked, "what should we do?"
"Don't collect any more than you are required to," he told them.
Then some soldiers asked him, "And what should we do?"
He replied, "Don't extort money and don't accuse people falsely—be content with your pay."

(Luke 3:9-14)

I love this passage, because I could so easily see the next stanza reading, "And then a chemistry teacher came to John and asked him, "And what should I do?"

In the liberality of my imagination, the answer that John gives is perhaps the most obvious answer that exists. His answer tells me to do what I intuitively know that I should do, but also that which I find hardest to do.

"Don't treat your students as machines, or numbers en masse. Value the intellect of even the slow and distracted pupils. Patiently reveal the hidden and beautiful secrets of a particle world that cannot be seen."

Faithfulness in the moment of my calling. There, that's it. Nothing fancy. Nothing exotic. Be faithful. That's what I should do.