Thursday, February 16, 2017

Teaching: A Serious Calling

Chuckle: A teacher was trying to get the students to think. He asked, "If the Pilgrims were alive today, what would they be most famous for?" One student quickly responded, "Their age."
Quote: “Teaching kids to count is fine, but teaching them what counts is best.” --Bob Talbert

"Not many of you should presume to be teachers, my brothers, because you know that we who teach will be judged more strictly" (James 3:1 NIV).
In the Jewish culture of James' day, teaching was a highly respected and valued profession. It's likely that in their excitement and exuberance, many new Christians aspired to be teachers of their new-found faith. James begins chapter 3 with a warning to them and to those of us who presume to teach others. Our words and example have profound affect on the spiritual lives of those we teach. Therefore, James says to them, and us, that taking on the role of teacher in the church is a serious calling, and those who teach will be held to a higher standard by our Lord.
In reality, every Christian is a teacher, in the strictest sense, because non-believers are constantly forming their opinions of Christians and Christianity, positively or negatively, by the words and conduct of "professed Christians." However, those charged with teaching God's Word are specifically addressed by James. Here are some brief thoughts on teaching for your consideration.
Teachers should be characterized by wisdom. "We proclaim him (Christ), admonishing and teaching everyone with all wisdom . . . ." (Colossians 1:28a NIV).
Teachers should be humble and not argumentative. "But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere." (James 3:17 NIV).
Teachers must teach in a sound and godly way. "What you have heard from me, keep as the pattern of sound teaching, with faith and love in Christ Jesus. Guard the good deposit that was entrusted to you -- guard it with the help of the Holy spirit who lives in us" (2 Timothy 1:13 NIV).
Teachers' lives must be consistent with what they profess. "Such teachings (from the evil one) come through hypocritical liars, whose consciences have been seared with a hot iron" (1 Timothy 4:2 NIV). "You, however, know all about my teaching, my way of life, my purpose . . ." (2 Timothy 3:10 NIV).
These warnings by James should not discourage us from being teachers. On the contrary, if you sense God's call into teaching, you would be wise and obedient if you surrender and commit yourself to that calling. Along with great responsibilities, being a teacher can bring you great joy and fulfillment. But James' warnings should cause us to examine our motives for being teachers, the content of our teaching, and the lives we live while serving as teachers
Love, Jerry & Dotse.


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