Matthew 25:40 “I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for Me.”
Miss Thompson was a schoolteacher who said the same thing to her students every year: “Boys and girls, I love you all the same. I have no favorites.” But that wasn’t completely truthful. Teachers are human, and they do have favorites. What’s worse, most teachers have students that they simply don’t like.
Teddy Stallard was a boy that Miss Thompson simply didn’t like, and for good reason. He didn’t seem interested in school. He wore a deadpan, blank expression on his face, and his eyes were glassy and unfocused. When she spoke to Teddy, he merely shrugged his shoulders. His clothes were messy and his hair was unkempt. He wasn’t an attractive boy, and he certainly wasn’t likable.
Whenever she marked Teddy’s papers, she got a certain perverse pleasure out of putting X’s next to the wrong answers. When she put the F’s at the top of the papers, she did it with flair. She should have known better. She had Teddy’s records, and she knew more about him than she wanted to admit. The records read:
1st Grade: Teddy shows promise with his work and attitude, but poor home situation.
2nd Grade: Teddy could do better, Mother is seriously ill. He receives little help at home.
3rd Grade: Teddy is a good boy, but too serious. He is a slow learner. His mother died this year.
4th Grade: Teddy is very slow, but well behaved. His father shows no interest.
At Christmas, the boys and girls in Miss Thompson’s class brought her presents, piled them on her desk, and crowded around to watch her open them. Among the presents was one from Teddy Stallard. She was surprised that he had brought her a gift. Teddy’s gift was wrapped in brown paper and held together with Scotch tape. On the paper were written the simple words, “For Miss Thompson, from Teddy.” When she opened Teddy’s present, out fell a gaudy rhinestone bracelet, with half the stones missing, and a bottle of cheap perfume.
The other boys and girls began to giggle and smirk over Teddy’s gifts. But Miss Thompson at least had enough sense to silence them by immediately putting on the bracelet and dotting some of the perfume on her wrist. Holding her wrist up for the other children to smell, she said, “Doesn’t it smell lovely?” The other children, taking their cue from their teacher, readily agreed. When school was over and the other children had left, Teddy lingered behind. He slowly came over to her desk and said softly, “Miss Thompson?” “Miss Thompson, you smell just like my mother and her bracelet looks real pretty on you, too. I’m glad you like my presents.”
When Teddy left, Miss Thompson got down on her knees and asked God to forgive her. The next day when the children came to school, a new teacher welcomed them. Miss Thompson had become a different person. She was no longer just a teacher–she had become an agent of God, committed to loving her children and doing things for them that would live on after her.
She helped all the children, but especially the slow ones and especially Teddy Stallard. By the end of that school year, Teddy showed dramatic improvement. He caught up with most of the students and was even ahead of some. Once the school year ended, Miss Thompson didn’t hear from Teddy for a long time. Then one day she received a note that read:
Dear Miss Thompson,
I wanted you to be the first to know. I will be graduating second in my class.
Four years later, another note came:
Dear Miss Thompson,
They just told me I will be graduating first in my class. I wanted you to be the first to know. The university has not been easy, but I have had a good four years.
And, four years after that:
Dear Miss Thompson,
As of today, I am Theodore Stallard, M.D. How about that? I wanted you to be the first to know. I am getting married next month, the twenty-seventh to be exact. I want you to come and sit where my mother would sit if she were alive. You are the only family I have now. Dad died last year.
Miss Thompson went to that wedding and sat where Teddy’s mother would have sat. She deserved to be there because she had given something to Teddy that changed his life.
Say: “We can also be like Miss Thompson and share with others what we have to give. We can give them love, acceptance, encouragement, support, friendship, and hope. We can believe in them and help them to not only believe in themselves, but in the God who created them and loves them.”
Ask your family members if there is a Teddy in their lives right now who needs what they can share. If there isn’t, ask them to be actively looking for someone they can be a blessing to.
“There have been meetings of only a moment which have left impressions for life, for eternity. No one can understand that mysterious thing we call influence…yet…every one of us continually exerts influence, either to heal, to bless, to leave marks of beauty; Or to wound, to hurt, to poison, to stain the lives of others.” – J. R. Miller
“Father, please help us to be sensitive to the needs of the people You place in our paths each day and show us how to help meet their needs with what You have given us to share.”