One of the best moments of my live seminars is when I share with Catholic teachers the idea of ‘God’s economy.’ It’s a really simple idea that explains the fact that God sees every single thing we do in the service of young people, faith and education. So, if you have ever felt unsure that what you’re doing makes a difference then this is the episode for you!
The hidden work of the Catholic teacher
I know that you probably feel pretty hidden. I know that you’re somewhere in the world, maybe in a classroom or in a leadership role, and days roll on and sometimes you ask yourself, “Is this making a difference?” Well, I’m just the voice here today to tell you it’s making a massive difference. But the thing is, we’re such an immediate culture, we’re a culture of immediacy and instant gratification that we’re like if we don’t see an instant result, we’re just not sure that what we’re doing is making a difference.
I can look back now to teachers… I was just thinking about it the other day. When I was in high school, I did a double major in literature, and I remember my teacher there and the stuff that we did in Shakespeare and the things that I memorized and this teacher’s love for literature and became a real mentor for me. And I’m looking back now, and that’s decades, and this person’s service and influence is still significant. So you’re doing that right now.
All right, listen, I want to talk to you about something. You may have heard this if you’ve seen me live. It’s something that I teach called God’s economy, and I want you to hear this today because I explained it like this, right? So in human economy, and by economy, I mean a value system, so in a human value system, in a human economy, we value things like more is better than less, bigger is better than smaller, faster is better than slower, and I don’t critique that really because it’s got us this far.
And then people turn on the TV and believe the world’s coming to an end. But the truth is that the world’s actually in a pretty amazing place. So this human economy with all its imperfections… Remember, Churchill famously said that capitalism is the worst system ever invented except for every other system that’s ever been tried, okay? So it’s an imperfectly perfect system, but in this human economy, we value those things. And what I teach in my seminars with Catholic educators is what I call God’s economy.
You see, in God’s economy, things are basically inverted. Think of those beautiful lines in Isaiah, as high as the heavens, as far as the heavens are above the earth, so are my ways above yours, my thoughts above yours. So God’s telling us in scripture that how he thinks, how he values is radically different to how we value. Even look at the life and the ministry of Jesus. I mean, the religious figures of his time, I always think we’re too hard on them. Let’s always remember that for all those Pharisees we read about, there were many devout men and women who actually were trying to do the right thing, but basically that religious system at the time, Jesus pointed it out. He said you’ve got broader phylacteries and bigger tassels. The religious system valued more, showing us in bigger displays of authority and leadership, but what did Jesus value? Children, smallness, women, at that time in history who had no status. So we could even see Jesus playing out this inversion of the human economy.
All right, what’s this got to do with you and Catholic education? What’s this? You see, in God’s economy, the smallest things done in Catholic education by you, the smallest acts of love, the smallest moments of patience, that time where you go the extra mile or you teach that extra class, where you do that extra thing, all of those things are really significant, and in God’s economy, they’re big things.
I always like to say to teachers that when you get to heaven, time as we know it will be different. And I like to think that God’s going to pull out this massive flat screen TV and you’re going to sit down with the Trinity, and the Trinity is going to show you all these little moments that you might’ve thought were insignificant, all these little moments that you thought were maybe not that important. You’re going to see how incredibly important they were in the eyes of God.
So I want to encourage you today as you go back in there to remind yourself that you’re working in God’s economy, and in his economy, small is okay, and in his economy, patience is good and gentleness is good and encouragement is good, so in his economy, the smallest things that you do out of love for him. And I remember Jesus said that too, didn’t he, about just when you visited somebody in prison, you visited him. When you cared for the sick, you cared for him. And I like to say that when you teach from the heart and you go the extra mile to really reach a student and inspire them and encourage them and serve them, you’re doing the same thing to Jesus, and what an amazing thing to do with your life. That is an amazing thing to do with your life. So be encouraged. Everything matters. The smallest details are not small. They’re actually enormous and you’re going to see them.
All right, do this for me. Pull out your phone, grab Instagram. If you’re on it, go to jonathandoyle47. You can find me there on Instagram. If you use Twitter, I’m a pretty big Twitter user, so you’ll find me there on Twitter. I don’t do politics. I don’t do negativity. I do encouragement. You’ll find me there on Twitter @beingcatholic1 or Jonathan Doyle. Please make sure you’ve subscribed wherever you’re hearing this. Please subscribe to the podcast and share it with people. You can find us on Facebook in the group Passionate Catholic Teachers. . You’ll find us there. If you want to book me to speak, just go to beingcatholic.com.au, and you’ll see a seminars tab there. Hit that seminars tab, and you can find out more about getting me to come and speak live.
I’m really excited. I’m going to be doing the NCEA keynote in Baltimore in April, just me and 10,000 friends in the room, so make sure if you’re going to come to NCEA, I want you to check that out. It’s going to be an amazing event and I’ll be there doing the keynote, so I’m looking forward to it.
God bless you, friends. Father, I just pray for every teacher listening right now, every principal, every leader, every teacher, every librarian, janitor, custodian doing the work. I just pray, Holy Spirit, for your blessing and your encouragement and your presence and your inspiration in their lives. Thank you for what they do. God bless you, everybody. My name is Jonathan Doyle. This has been The Catholic Teacher Daily Podcast, and I’m going to have another message for you tomorrow.