Monday, April 11, 2011

Keep a close watch on how you live and on your teaching

1Tim. 4:11-16 NLT  
   11Teach these things and insist that everyone learn them. 12 Don’t let anyone think less of you because you are young. Be an example to all believers in what you say, in the way you live, in your love, your faith, and your purity. 13 Until I get there, focus on reading the Scriptures to the church, encouraging the believers, and teaching them. 
   14 Do not neglect the spiritual gift you received through the prophecy spoken over you when the elders of the church laid their hands on you. 15 Give your complete attention to these matters. Throw yourself into your tasks so that everyone will see your progress. 16 Keep a close watch on how you live and on your teaching. Stay true to what is right for the sake of your own salvation and the salvation of those who hear you.

Can a young person teach an older one? According to God's Word, if the older one is a wise person, yes because a wise person is always willing to learn from anyone. However there is responsibility in the younger person as well. Notice verse 12 follows the statement about teaching and insisting others learn. One of the things we should teach and promote mastery for is the idea that a younger person has input as to whether others they seek to teach do or do not 'think less' of them, merely because of their youth. They must make daily decisions about life that exemplify Christ and their commitment to Him. This can only come as we request and permit God to purify our hearts and change us from the self-absorbed creatures our fallen nature produced in us.

We are not sure what Timothy's Spiritual gift was but we know it came as a result of his initiation or ordination into ministry work. We know it gave Timothy internal resources to conduct the ministry God would place within his hands to accomplish across his life time.  All of us who come to Christ receive such gifts. Sometimes they are used and often they are neglected because we never venture into an arena where they can be called upon. One day sitting in an adult Bible study taught by a wonderful teacher (so I was not bored), I found myself looking into the faces of my class mates-- many of whom I had known at my church for ten or 20 years. Many I had seen grow and mature from young adults to wise middle adults. I imagined a question, what if everyone in this room who has successfully taught a Bible study or a Sunday school class, or who has mentored another into a growing relationship with Jesus Christ was doing so this same week of our meeting?  I counted 23 adults present. Allowing for couples, among those 23, I imagined that there COULD be at least 15 powerful on-going efforts to grow the Kingdom, just in this room. And there were many more rooms just like ours at our church at that moment.

Do you ever get the feeling that the church spends a large portion of its time talking to. . . well, 'the church.'  When does the world get to hear what we have been learning in 'the church?' Paul encouraged Pastor Tim to pay attention to his living and to his teaching. That would have to mean that he was doing some teaching, right? Now we all are not pastors, I know, but are we all called by Christ to go across all the world where our steps take us and to make disciples and to teach those disciples to obey all the things Christ has taught us? I think He said that to us in several places (see Mt 28:19-20)

Your servant

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