I just came away from one of my classes, shaking, praying that I somehow did some justice to God’s words in my heart and on my lips. How I long to do that for Him. I want to be one of those beautiful feet that brings good tidings of good things, Romans 10:15.
So I sat down, thought, and wrote seriously about how I am trying to fulfill this charge which every Christian has been given, Mark 16:15; 2 Timothy 4:2; Titus 2:3. Here is what I wrote. Please share your own thoughts with me.
Dear Father, help me to teach!
I’m sure you all agree, there are few things more important in this world than teaching and teaching others to teach others. Teaching what? The Gospel of Jesus Christ, of course! I can’t help but reflect on Isaiah’s written words: “So shall my word be that goes out from my mouth; it shall not return to me empty, but it shall accomplish that which I purpose, and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it” (Isaiah 55:11).
Oh, that I would compel hearts to learn and make good use of their knowledge; to desire deeper commitment and greater obedience; to see in my students the fruit of the Spirit. If hearts are not being continually renewed in the spirit of their minds (Eph 4:23), I feel I have failed.
I want to teach certain skills, so that my students might gain truth and grasp all-important knowledge. A soldier for Christ without a good grasp of the Bible is literally without weapons. I am committed to training learners to learn for themselves, to get excited that they too can discover the wisdom they pray for found in God’s holy word. I want to hear of their joy in His gift that can help them make their life decisions and solve their deep and seemingly overwhelming problems. I so want them to feel strongly about serving God, for it is through our emotions that we build our will to follow through on what we know to be right and good. Above all I want my teaching to excite my learners to share what they have with others. I want to hear, “I can see it! You make it real! I must tell my mother, sister, brother this story! “I can, I know I can (do it)!”
You may ask, how can this be done? Very simply. Giving and receiving God’s Word– gaining understanding– is at the heart of how we increase our faith. No gimmicks.
1. I teach so as to help my students listen. This means I expect them to read and study the Scriptures for themselves. I try to whet their appetite so that they want to go and read the whole story for themselves. When listeners become curious and hungry about what God offers in communication to them, they will seek answers from the right source.
2. I encourage my students to write on paper what conclusions they come to when reading the Bible, to record their goals, thoughts, even prayers. I also ask them to draw on paper, in the dirt, on whatever medium is available of what they see in their minds. All of this lays the ground work for when they begin to teach others. I make time for them to talk to me and others about what they know. And in this way they realize what they do not know. Thus, it is back to the drawing board; for no one enjoys a foggy mind.
I try to keep several things in mind as I teach: I want to love my students, to take them seriously. It is not the time to show off my knowledge. My concern for their eternal destiny must be ever in my heart. When I come away from a class, I am praying: have my students learned a little better how to be disciples of Jesus Christ? Have I stimulated the heart, the mind, and the will of each student? And in their learning together, are they learning to love each other? Oh, how I know the importance of growing together in the Lord.
Here in Africa, I teach knowledge from the Scriptures, but I continually make many simple applications that they face on a daily basis. I don’t want to give them more than they can handle at any given time, but rather to concentrate on building more and more each time we meet. If I offer too much too soon, learning doesn’t occur and I have failed. At the same time, I must also offer more and more to the already hungry students who face me like young birds–what I have offered has already gone down, digested and they cry, “More, more!”
Students and teacher growing together. Dear Father, help me to teach!