Summary: Spiritual Gifts Series - 9 of 13.
THE GIFT OF TEACHING
INTRO: A nominating committee was interviewing a prospective Sunday School teacher. They asked, “Do you know the Bible?” “Yes, I do!” “What’s your favorite Bible story?” the chairman asked. The candidate replied, “I like the story of the good Samaritan best.” “Fine,” said the committee, “tell us that story.”
So the man began his account of the famous parable. He said, “There was a good Samaritan going down from Jerusalem to Jericho and fell among the thorns, and they sprang up and choked him and left him half-dead. So he said, ‘I will arise!’ and he arose and came to a tree for forty days and forty nights, and the ravens fed him. Then Delilah came along with a pair of shears and cut off his hair, and he fell on stony ground. He said again, ‘I will arise!’ So he came to a wall, and Jezebel was sitting on that wall; and he cried out, ‘Chunk her down!’ So they chunked her down. He said, ‘Chunk her down seventy times!’ And great was the fall thereof and of the fragments that remained they picked up twelve baskets full, but whose wife will she be in the Resurrection?”
Such stories as this remind us that not everybody is a good Bible teacher. As a matter of fact, Paul said in our scriptural passage that there is a gift of teaching which the Holy Spirit places in the church.
I. A GOOD DEFINITION.
The background of the Greek word (äéäÜóêùí) that is translated “teaching” is interesting. It first meant the imparting of knowledge with a view toward gradual assimilation. It meant to build a mind-set or structure within a person. The word is used ninety-five times in the New Testament and primarily means to bring listeners into a direct confrontation with the will of God.
We might say that the gift of teaching is the ability to build knowledge of the will of God into people’s lives until they are conformed to the image of Christ. It’s a little like the old craft of meticulously building a ship in a bottle.
ILLUS: A Gulf War Chaplain who was ministering to a seriously wounded soldier was requested by the dying man to write a letter to his former Sunday school teacher. “Tell her I died a Christian because of what she taught me in that class in church. The memory of her earnest pleas and the warmth of her love as she asked us to accept Jesus has stayed with me. Tell her I’ll meet her in Heaven.”
The message was sent, and some time later the chaplain received this reply: “May God forgive me. Just last month I resigned my position and abandoned my Sunday school pupils because I felt my work had been fruitless. How I regret my impatience and lack of faith! I shall ask my pastor to let me go back to teaching. I have learned that when one sows for God, the reaping is both sure and blessed!”
II. A GOOD EXAMPLE.
Jesus certainly possessed this gift. One of the most common names people gave to Jesus was Teacher or Rabbi. Most of Jesus’ teaching seems to have been done in small groups where there was room for give-and-take. Our Sunday School organization attempts to carry on this ministry.
ILLUS: Howard Hendricks relates the following story: “Years ago in a church in Dallas we were having trouble finding a teacher for a junior high boys class. The list of prospects had only one name — and when they told me who it was I said, ‘You’ve got to be kidding.’ But I couldn’t have been more wrong about that young man. He took the class and revolutionized it.
“I was so impressed I invited him to my home for lunch and asked him the secret of his success. He pulled out a little black book. On each page he had a small picture of one of the boys, and under the boy’s name were comments like ‘having trouble in arithmetic,’ or ‘comes to church against parents’ wishes,’ or ‘would like to be a missionary some day, but doesn’t think he has what it takes.’
“I pray over those pages every day,” he said, “and I can hardly wait to come to church each Sunday to see what God has been doing in their lives.”
III. GOOD USE OF THE GIFT.
Many of us will admit that some of the most influential people in our lives have been school teachers, Sunday School teachers, college teachers , etc .
What are the marks of those who have the gift of teaching? They have a close relationship with Jesus. They love to study God’s Word for hours on end. These people are growing in Christ themselves. Real teachers have a great commitment to their students.