Yesterday, I wrote a post entitled – Confession Time – and part of that featured the following verse from James’ epistle.
Let not many of you be teachers, my brothers, knowing that we will receive heavier judgment.James 3:1 (NLT)
The phrase “heavier judgement” caught my attention, and reminded me (and hopefully you also) that those who teach, will be held to a higher standard because we are supposed to be leading the way for others to follow.
I made the point that this was not restricted to church pastors, but indeed anyone with a ministry (including bloggers!).
As it happens, I am reading a commentary on James at the moment, and there was a point made about this verse that every Christian is a teacher of one form or another. While we may think of those stationed in the pulpit as “teachers” (and they are), it is not restricted to that.
For instance, parents are teaching their children all the time. Whether directly instructing the children, or in turn being observed by said children, parents are very much passing on information to the next generation.
Perhaps you are not a parent, but we can find other examples. Business men and women in leadership “teach” their employees in one way or another – especially if they are known to be believers. Doctors and medical professionals impart knowledge to one another and their patients, teaching them how to care for themselves and others. We could go on…
I do not want to stretch this too far, as clearly James had in mind those who were teaching the Word of God. We naturally include in this: pastors, teachers, preachers, evangelists, home group leaders and Sunday school leaders. Each one of those is sharing knowledge of the Bible with others.
It would be rather easy, if outside of one of those categories, to assume that James 3:1 does not apply to you. I would challenge that however. If you are going to witness for Jesus, as every Christian is called to do, then you will – at some point – need to “teach” someone else about Him. Even if not called into full time Christian ministry, you are called by Jesus Himself to share your faith.
Go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all things that I commanded you. Behold, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Amen.Matthew 28:19-20
Notice that first word of verse 20… “teaching.” If you believe that Jesus was giving each one of us this Great Commission, then you must accept the responsibility of being a teacher.
School teachers spend many hours preparing for class. And pastors giving sermons on a Sunday must also give sufficient time to preparing their messages. How much time have you spent preparing to share your faith? Do you have your testimony memorised? Could you give a clear explanation of the Gospel if the opportunity arose?
But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts. Always be ready to give an answer to everyone who asks you a reason concerning the hope that is in you, with humility and fear,1 Peter 3:15 (WEB)
Are you ready to give that answer? Mine could do with work if I am honest. The key is to be clear and concise. Most people will give you around 45 seconds to say your piece before they decide if they want to hear more or not. That really isn’t long. Most of us could prepare and rehearse a short few words setting out the truth of the Gospel, so that we are fully prepared to teach someone who is asking.
Do not squander those opportunities to share your faith. Do not allow yourself to be caught unprepared. As it has been said, you may be the only Bible some people ever get to read, so make the most of the chance. If your memory is not all that good, then keep a flash card in your pocket, wallet or purse so it is there if you need it.
Every Christian is a teacher. That includes you dear reader.
Don’t let this post just pass you by. Set aside some time and prepare you answer. Write it down and memorise it. You do not know when the next opportunity may come. Be ready when it does!
God bless you.