A teacher asked her students to list what they thought were the present Seven Wonders of the World. The students cast the most votes for 1. Egypt’s Great Pyramids 2. Taj Mahal 3. Grand Canyon 4. Panama Canal 5. Empire State Building 6. St. Peter’s Basilica 7. China’s Great Wall.
While gathering the votes, the teacher noted that one student had not turned in her paper yet. She asked the girl if she was having trouble with her list. The girl replied, “Yes, a little. I couldn’t quite make up my mind because there were so many.”
The teacher said, “Well, tell us what you have, and maybe we can help.” The girl hesitated, then read, “I think the Seven Wonders of the World are: 1. To see 2. To hear 3. To touch 4. To taste 5. To feel 6. To laugh 7. To love. (Preaching today.com, June 22, 2004).
Though it wasn’t the answer the teacher was looking for, one can hardly argue that the students seven choices make sense. Sometimes students have special insights that can even teach the teacher something.
The very best teachers understand that learning is constantly happening all around us. Even the most mundane of experiences teach us something. In the falling of a leaf, we can better understand the cycle of life. In the wind we learn the forces of nature. In the heat of the day, we observe the power of the sun.
To be most productive in our learning, however, it is best to have a teacher. A teacher can guide you to the truth and stimulate your want to learn more. They can motivate you to rise above the average and can inspire you with their passion.
God knows full well the value of the teacher and, as His children, He expects us to do our part in teaching according to the gifts He has given us, “As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace” (1 Peter 4:10).
He tells us through Paul in Titus 2:7-8, “Show yourself in all respects to be a model of good works, and in your teaching show integrity, dignity, and sound speech that cannot be condemned, so that an opponent may be put to shame, having nothing evil to say about us.”
Here God is saying that teaching is about more than knowing the facts, it’s also about how we present ourselves as worthy teachers. If one knows all there is to know about a certain subject but has little ability to show in their actions that they care, then their teaching is more likely to fall on deaf ears. And if a teacher cannot modal themselves with integrity and dignity, they will be more vulnerable to those who which to destroy them.
The Proverb says clearly, “Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it” (Proverbs 22:6). The most tenured teachers will tell you that a child who has been taught in the right way with enthusiasm and knowledge, will be more likely to carry on that knowledge to future generations. In our Christian walk that same philosophy holds true.
To teach about God, we first have to know God. To instruct others about the faith, we have to be grounded in it. People can see through the teacher who has lots of words but little insight. To teach according to the gifts God has given to you, you must first understand how those gifts were given.
Yet, God expects us all to be teachers as His only Son was a teacher, through our knowledge and our actions. It is not acceptable for us to leave the teaching to others.
So, to be most effective in your teaching, come to know the Father in a more intimate way. Understand that the heart knowledge is more important than the head knowledge because it is one thing to know the facts, it is something different entirely to believe in them.
Don’t neglect worship or devotion time or Bible study. Do what you must to increase your knowledge. More importantly, trust in the guidance of the Holy Spirit and venture out in faith knowing that He will provide the insight you seek. Please pray with me:
Heavenly Father, help us to be good teachers of your goodness and grace and lead us to a greater understanding of You and a richer understanding of your love. Amen