Tuesday, June 15, 2010

The Price of Teaching Like Jesus

I am fascinated in my studies of the teaching methods Jesus used in his ministry. When I’m making notes for myself from my study I am also writing out the requirements for teaching like Jesus. It’s sinking in that I can’t easily imitate Jesus’ style or methods using what I learn in books. The real secret to much of his success was in his consistent practices and disciplines. For example, he always seemed to be one step ahead of his listeners. He seemed to know what issue a person was going to shout out to him, what tricky questions a scribe would be asking or even what the disciples would be arguing about! And he was ready with a perfect story, parable or wise answer. He apparently was prepared in his time alone with the Father. I cannot possibly replicate that without an intimate prayer life like Jesus.

It’s relatively easy to gather resources and scan websites to prepare a teaching outline. It can be tough to create compelling learning activities for students. It is much more difficult to prepare my heart for teaching and down right challenging to prepare my life. I can’t do that in two days or even two weeks! And yet that prepared life is exactly what set Jesus apart from the prominent teachers of the law. When Jesus taught he was already living out his message publicly before crowds of enthusiasts and criticizers. When he taught about meekness, his audience just had to watch him to know what it looked like. When he taught to bless those who curse the disciples just had to listen to Jesus as they walked along the road to see how to bless opponents.

I’ve spent years practicing teaching preparation and implementation of creative learning activities, but if I really long to be a teacher like Jesus, I have some serious homework to do. I need to take an honest look at how consistently I am applying what I long to teach. Could my students learn from my life what they need to know for application? Does my prayer life prepare me for the surprises of teaching? And do my attitudes model godly responses I long for in my students. A prepared life can only be honed by moment by moment submitting to the Holy Spirit. And that “homework” can’t be completed in one night. It requires a lifetime of yielding. So, for me it’s not about whether or not I want to teach like Jesus. It’s more about whether I’m willing to pay the same price to teach like him, and to pay it daily.

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