«He who has a generous eye will be blessed, for he gives of his bread to the poor» (Proverbs 22:9).
John Calvin (1509-1564) was one of the great pillars of the Protestant Reformation, whose thought transcended the world of religion. His interpretations of the Bible impacted the fledgling modern society and gave a current meaning to Scripture reading.
Young Calvin was a good student at school. But that was not enough to prepare a mind that would face the great intellectual challenges that awaited it. Especially, he had serious difficulties with the learning of Latin, whose rules he could not understand. On more than one occasion, he felt frustrated by not understanding what the teacher explained. But his teacher was a man with a heart full of kindness and had a very clear sense of the purpose of his teaching. Mathurin Cordier represented the best of French humanist pedagogy,’ and was determined that his students learn what he taught them.
So when he perceived that the young Calvin was struggling with Latin, he willingly and with much patience condescended to teach him the rudiments of the language, an act that he would remember as a singular kindness from God.
In his work, A Little Book for the Amendment of Corrupt Phrases in Our Speech (Paris, 1530), Mathurin Cordier offered a summary of his pedagogical principles: «There are two reasons why I have undertaken this work: first, so that all enlightened persons could be impulse to write better, secondly, so that young people can not only be motivated to study Latin, but could also be stimulated to pursue a noble life… . Because if there is no piety, what good is there in letters?» What a teacher! This teaching giant used Latin—a difficult subject to learn—to win the hearts of his students and motivate them to live noble lives. That’s teaching! He knew that the footprint a teacher leaves in a student’s life lasts for the rest of their existence; that a passionate teacher with knowledge can lead a young person to get excited about the most complicated subject of their studies; that some of the most relevant guidelines in life are established in the classrooms.
The reciprocity of study and faith instilled in the young Calvin in Paris became the pattern throughout his life and produced one of the great thinkers of the history of Christianity.
Today ask the Lord to help you do more for those who need your help. Be kind.