Estes Echo

Me, a Teacher?

I have lived in Tennessee for a long time and thus have learned to appreciate things like the Smoky Mountains, mules, Mennonites, the Vols, and even country music. Do you remember the country song titled “Who’s going to fill their shoes?” by George Jones back in 1986? In the song the Possum asked who would replace the legends of country music that had given their “heart and soul to get to me and you.” I used to wonder when I heard that song about an institution that is much more important than the country music establishment: the church. Who will be our future elders, deacons, preachers, Bible class teachers, servants, members…who will fill our shoes?

I believe that three groups are most effective in determining the answer to that question: 1) church leaders, 2) parents and 3) Bible class teachers. There are men and women who taught me from my mother’s knee about God and His love for us that I will forever be indebted to. Some of you are those kinds of people. You give hours and years of your lives to benefit us and our children and their children. Thank you. You are doing a great job and are offering a consistent and effective ministry.

If you are a Christian, you are also a teacher. Paul referred to this principle in 2 Timothy 2:2 when he talked about how the Christians in Ephesus could take the things that had been taught and teach them to others so that they too could teach others. It is a self-reciprocating process. You are taught, you teach, and the people you teach teach. Can you think of a better way to leave a legacy? Christians illustrate God to others. God Himself was a teacher (Isaiah 30:20). Jesus taught God’s will (John 7:16) with authority (Matt. 7:28-29; Luke 20:1-2; 24:27). Jesus was a popular Temple teacher (Luke 21:37-38). As Christian teachers we should first teach others to trust God. It is a part of our continued effort to glorify God. We are not motivated to teach by recognition or power. Instead we pray that God will use us in our imperfections and limited wisdom to teach others that He is not limited or imperfect. Secondly, we should also teach others to remember God’s works. Israel and the early church often forgot to do this and their failure to teach led to apostasy. Let’s not make this same mistake. Third, we should teach others to obey God’s Word. Obedience is a learned behavior. Children who go undisciplined rebel. We are not obedient just to keep a list of rules, but rather we are obedient because we are seeking to have a real relationship with God and respond to what He has graciously done for us. Every Christian is a teacher. Let us make sure that we teach so that one day the “shoes” of those leading God’s people today will be filled by those who are well equipped for the task.

–Doug Burleson