By Stacy Boyle
Copied with permission from her teaching blog - Teaching Beyond the Norm (My Chocolate vs Gods Chocolate)
Imagine living in a family composed of 20 very different kids. Imagine these very different kids waking up each morning with 20 very different goals for the day. Very different fears for the day. Very different backgrounds playing into their day. Very different personalities.
Now imagine being given the task of meeting each of those kids where they are as they walk into your classroom. Yes, this is the daily challenge faced by every educator (some educators face it several times a day). Then add in the particular dynamics of a given age group (middle school hormones for example), this task can seem like climbing Mount Everest or maybe more appropriately, falling off Mount Everest.
How do you bring together such a diverse group? How to you meet each student? Teach each student? Challenge each student? Help each student?
Chocolate of course! Yes, you heard me correctly- chocolate.
Every lesson that I teach presents the challenge of reaching all of those personalities that will walk in to my room each day. Some lessons are more successful that others. Earlier this month, while teaching a lesson on salvation with my Bible class, my planning led to distinguishing between the good that we offer to God and the good that God offers to us. This led me to chocolate.
I started collecting half eaten pieces of chocolate. Beaten up pieces of chocolate. Pieces of chocolate crushed and ruined before even leaving the packaging.
The unit on salvation proudly began with me sharing this chocolate with my students. Try to imagine; these same kids that walked in to my room carrying their very different circumstances and thoughts are now faced with accepting this “unwanted” chocolate from their teacher. They all took a piece because they are amazing and do whatever I ask. They know it will eventually lead somewhere but I will admit many pieces were taken with looks of hesitation and slight disgust. Many quickly placed them on the table in front of them and even wiped their hands to be sure the “bad chocolate germs” did not stay with them. You can imagine it was fairly easy to convince them to wait to eat the chocolate until later in the lesson.
As the lesson progressed, we eventually came back to the chocolate and discussed that this chocolate represented the good that we bring to God. While there might still be some value in the taste that the chocolate offers, it has been beaten up. It has faced adversity. It has been somewhat taken advantage of. It has “had a rough life”.
I then offered to trade chocolate. My chocolate in exchange for your chocolate and my chocolate is the really good Lyndt chocolate. The offer was immediately accepted. Some chocolate consumed before I finished the exchange with everyone. This leveled the playing field for all of us.
Our chocolate for God’s chocolate. God wants to exchange his chocolate for our chocolate. He is not asking us to be good enough to measure up to Him. He is asking for us to allow Him to be good enough for us. His chocolate for our chocolate. How powerful is that? We do not need to measure up. We need to accept the gift.
God sent His Son to intercede for us on the cross- to trade our chocolate for His. Trade our sin and imperfections for His goodness. Take some time today to think about this great exchange. If you have never traded your chocolate for God’s chocolate, I would encourage you to do so today. If this trade has occurred in your life, I would encourage you to live in this grace. You do not have to earn God’s love. It is a free gift. Live in that grace today. God’s love and grace levels the playing field for us all.
Hebrews 7:25(NIV) ” Therefore he is able to save completely those who come to God through him, because he always lives to intercede for them.”