The things which you have heard from me among many witnesses commit to faithful men who will be able to teach others also. (2 Tim. 2:2)
I’ve been saying for years now that I believe in God because of the small, daily interaction with him, not because of the larger miracles I’ve experienced.
I’ve never kept good track of those things, though, and like most of the meals I’ve eaten the last few years, I can’t remember them well enough to say what they are.
So I thought I’d start keeping track. I’m going to try doing it right here on this blog. I’ll still intermix teachings with these stories some days, but I want to tell these kind of stories regularly.
This week has been a good week for seeing God interact with me, but let’s begin nine days ago, on a Friday.
That night I was supposed to teach about 20 men, faithful men to whom we are trying to commit basic and necessary teachings so that they’ll be able to teach others also.
That Friday, I was trying to decide between teaching on contentment—accepting the things God sends into your life, growing from them, and seeing his hand in them—and teaching on the Word of God. I have a not very good version of that teaching on my Christian history site (though, hopefully I’ll have it updated by the time you click on that link).
Anyway, the decision was very difficult for me. I wavered back and forth all the way into the afternoon.
The problem was, I really felt like God was leading me to do the teaching on the Word of God, but I’ve taught that before; two or three times, in fact, and here at RCV each time. On Fridays, we get together what are pretty much the most teachable men we have, so it seemed likely they would already know the teaching.
I worry about boring people (sometimes so much so that it’s sin and disobedience to my calling, which is to teach; some teaching is boring even when it is useful).
Anyway, I finally gave in and realized that if I was going to be faithful to God, I was going to do the teaching on the Word of God.
When I taught that night, it was the clearest I’ve taught on the subject because it was well outlined and I had a slide show so everyone could follow it.
But here’s the point of this story …
Since we’re trying to teach faithful men to teach others also, I asked the brothers if one of them would volunteer to teach on the subject to the whole village the following Wednesday. One did, and he went off to prepare.
I provided him with my notes, my outline, and my PowerPoint, but I also told him that he needed to ingest the teaching, make it his, and then teach it from him, not parrot what I said.
Though like most villagers, he’s spoken publicly to the whole village a number of times—our gatherings are usually open mike—this was the first time he’d been called on to teach the whole village, at least 50 or 60 adults make it on Wednesday night. He was nervous.
He asked me questions every day from Friday till Tuesday. He was clearly unsure what he was supposed to be doing.
Then on Wednesday morning, he sent me the following by email:
I was wrestling with this last night, trying to prepare everything, and feeling pretty dry. Told my wife that I was going to bail out. But then I took a good look at why I was getting all wadded up, and the reasons all had to do with me.
It helped to take a look at the subject matter—the word of God—and this morning I asked him to let me rest and to give me the word he wants to speak, I’m not going to worry about the "me" parts of it. All of a sudden it’s he’s giving me stuff in a rush … pretty exciting.
That thrilled me. How do you teach a young man how not to simply repeat a teaching but to make it his own? How do you teach him to teach out of revelation from God and not just from the letter?
The answer is you can’t. You have to leave those things to God.
And God did it.
Take another look at that email. He said, "It helped to take a look at the subject matter …"
Remember my struggle with the subject matter? I vacillated between the Word of God and Contentment as the subject that Friday night, and felt that it was God letting me know that I should teach on the Word of God.
Would the same thing have happened had the subject matter not been the Word of God?
I don’t think so.
That’s the kind of little thing that happens to me almost daily. Day by day, trusting God proves to be a good and wise thing to do.
Every day? Really?
Actually, I’m not sure it’s every day, but it’s pretty often.
It’s within the last couple weeks that my 7-year-old daughter had a deep spiritual experience.
She was at a nursing home, singing with other children for the residents there, when one of the songs suddenly meant something to her and convicted her. She burst into tears, and her grandmother (my mother) talked to her and helped her go apologize and do something nice for the person she’d wronged.
When my wife and I were talking about it, I told her, "You know, I just remembered that right about that time I set aside time to especially pray for our children. Maybe that had something to do with it."
She looked at me with wide eyes, and she said, "I did, too! I guess it was God!"
Once that sort of thing happens several hundred times, it does something for your faith.
I have a story from yesterday, too … I’m going to put another post to tell you about it. That’ll keep this one a bit shorter.