Sunday, June 6, 2010

Everyone's a Teacher

Thoughts from my reading in Whiter Than Snow: Meditations on Sin and Mercy by Paul David Tripp. Devotional is indented.

Then I will teach transgressors your ways, and sinners will return to you. Psalm 51:13

Do you know that God has called you to be a teacher? You say, "Come on, Paul, you've got to be kidding! I've never been to seminary. I freeze up whenever I have to say something in front of a crowd. I don't feel that I'm as biblically literate as I should be. I don't think God really intends me to be one of his instructors."

Let me explain what I'm talking about. Paul says, in Colossians 3:16 , "Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom." It's clear here that he's talking about the myriad of everyday-life ministry opportunities that God will give every one of his children. According to Paul, you have been called to teach.

As I think about this, I realize that I can be a negative teacher as well. My bad habits and attitudes are passed on to my children and others.

This is where David comes in. He says, in Psalm 51, "Restore to me the joy of your salvation, and uphold me with a willing spirit. Then I will teach transgressors your ways." David is reminding us that what qualifies us to teach in the personal ministry context of daily life is the grace that we have received in our own moments of need.

I teach in this way not out of perfection or from the ivory tower of theology but from my life: good and bad. How encouraging it can be to find out that none of us has it together, we all have areas of struggle and failure. That is where I can teach; others can see God’s grace at work in my life; making something good out of my mess.

So, are you a good steward of your story of grace? Have you thought about how to tell your story in a way that puts God and his grace in center stage? Have you looked around and considered who's living with or near you who could benefit from your story of grace? Where have you been unwilling to talk honestly about how much you were (and continue to be) a person in need of rescue?

This is where honesty and transparency come in. We are not giving a lecture, wagging our finger in the face of someone but coming alongside, one sinner to another, rejoicing in the grace, mercy, forgiveness and power that God gives to us.

So, it's true; you have been called to teach. Maybe not as a pastor, small group leader, Sunday school teacher, or foreign missionary. But you have been called to a daily life of gospel transparency, where you're ready, willing, and waiting to share your gratitude for the grace you've been given with someone who needs it just as much as you.

Here is a question from the meditation:

What are your God-given opportunities to teach others God's way?

The biggest that comes to mind this week is in my family. I need this posture with my kids so they see that God’s grace surpasses the condemnation of sin.


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