36 “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?”
37 Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’[a] 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’[b] 40 All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.” Matthew 22:36-40
Last week I shared the value of helping your students find God through “burning bush” experiences. Today I want to take it to the next level and show one of the temptations we face as teachers.
It is tempting to see your job as imparting knowledge rather than leading students to deeper relationships with God and others.
In all fairness, I admit I love knowledge. I love reading the Bible, studying the context, history and culture of the time the Bible was written. I love discussing it with others as well. The problem is when I am more passionate to know about God in Scripture for knowledge sake, rather than to commune with God in relationship. If our Bible study is solely focused on knowledge, we border on idolatry (making the Bible an idol) and miss the opportunity to be in relationship with God and others in the class- love God & neighbor.
Years ago, while I was an Associate at FBC Whiteville, NC, I had the chance to go to a Christian Education conference in Richmond, VA and hear Dr. Findley Edge speak at the University of Richmond. I had heard Dr. Edge early in my ministry and was inspired by him to go to Southern Seminary and even wrote a sermon from an idea he had. (Don’t worry…I got permission from him!)
A few weeks before the conference I reread his book, The Greening of the Church. I bought his book, Teaching for Results, and brought it with me to read. I looked forward to going to each session Dr. Edge led.
Of course participants stayed on the campus for the conference for three days in a dorm room. Each person had their own bedroom with a shared bathroom between them. I was fairly introverted at the time, and pretty much stayed to myself in the evening. I wanted to read through Dr. Edge’s books and discover more of his wisdom. I simply ignored the person who shared the same bathroom.
On the final day as I am packing my bags to leave, I received a knock on the bathroom door. The person opened the door and said, “I wanted to see who my quiet suitemate had been all of this time”, and he introduced himself. The person on the other side of the bathroom was Dr. Findley Edge! Here I was seeking wisdom from his books when I could have been relating directly with him! Teachers, our job is to help our students go deeper in their relationship with God and each other. As long as we are focused on relationships, we will do well!