I have recently heard some teachers who involved their listeners with dialogue. Dialogue is great in the learning setting because it informs us as teacher as to whether or not we are on target. In the situations I observed, it became obvious that the listeners knew just about everything before the teacher spoke. I wondered what the teacher up front had to add to their students’ knowledge, and I also wondered if the listeners ought to be teaching someone somewhere rather than sitting like saturated sponges!
Jesus came to a generation that “knew everything,” or at least everything that the teachers of the Law could give them. But Jesus astonished the listeners by moving them deeper than their saturated knowledge level to the dry bed of their hearts. He began to challenge their attitudes and life motivations. He began to challenge their current view of God and their understanding of God’s expectations. Jesus recognized their gap and stepped in. What is the gap that today’s teachers face in their learners? Is it a knowledge gap or is it really an application gap? Maybe there is an ocean-width gap between what believers know and their daily attitudes or choices. Or maybe there is an understanding gap that leaves listeners helpless to respond biblically to ethical dilemmas. Teachers are sent by God to address issues He sees, not just dispense knowledge or insight they have received.
As a teacher I am challenged to prayerfully consider what gaps God sees in my learners’ lives and what gaps he wants me to address, challenge, confront, or nudge. I seriously need his perspective or I will be inclined to pour water on saturated sponges. But, I also need to pause on a personal note. There are times I am prone to fill my head with knowledge while my heart remains as dry as a desert. I need to invite God’s Spirit to take his Word deeply into the recesses of my life motivations and to challenge my underlying belief system and attitudes. May I never be a saturated sponge. I want his Word to soak into every crevice of my soul and produce life-fruit that pleases Him.