Thursday, June 3, 2010

The Rest of Teaching

As I’ve been preparing for our upcoming course I’ve been occasionally niggled by fears. What if this is not the right format? Maybe I’m trying to teach too many skills? Will my students really apply what they are learning? And then I began thinking about Jesus who taught day after day. Was he worried about whether or not people would get what he was teaching? I don’t think so. I believe he obediently communicated what the Father gave him to teach and in the way he was directed to give it. And he rested.

Jesus rested on several things. He rested on the Father’s ongoing work in people’s hearts. He clearly told his disciples “No man can come unto the Father unless the Father draw him. (Jn 6:65)” After all, Jesus was working together as a team with the Father and the Holy Spirit. He also rested on his hearers’ responsibility for responding to what they heard and saw. Jesus repeatedly emphasized to the disciples that they be good stewards of what they heard (Mtt7:24-27; 5:6, Lk 11:28, Jn 13:17). Jesus knew clearly where his responsibility ended. He was comfortable in leaving the rest up to God and to his learners.

In the parable of the sower I am reminded that Jesus was fully aware of the potential obstacles to his listeners’ application of the teaching – the daily concerns of life, the enemy’s snatching strategies, and superficial acceptance of truth. While he fulfilled his responsibility to teach God’s Word, he was aware that active believing response to his teaching was not guaranteed. I am reminded that there are so many more factors contributing to successful teaching than just the “what and how” of what I teach. I can only be responsible for my part in the content and delivery methods of teaching and can leave the rest to my learners and to God’s faithful commitment to their growth. Ah… peace!

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