Yesterday I wrote about how I often use the illustration of a dairy farmer always milking the cows and never even considering missing at doing that chore twice every day, it never enters his mind, as an illustration of serious Christians faithfully practicing the basic disciplines of the Christian life, such as Bible reading and prayer, every day, every day, every day.
I was in Whittier, California this last week doing a seminar for pastors and Christian workers, and I used that illustration. I could tell by the expressions on the listeners faces that it wasn’t really a great illustration for people who lived in a large city in Southern California, so I quickly changed it to a person with a serious disease faithfully taking medication for that disease as my illustration. The second one seemed to make more more sense to them.
I was reminded of a personal law of life that I have, and remind myself of regularly. That law is, “The burden of clear communication taking place between two people lies squarely on the speaker, and a teacher is 100% responsible for the understanding and retention of the material taught in the mind of the student.”
In Colossians 4:3–4 Paul says, “pray for us that we may speak forth the mystery of Christ, for which I have also been imprisoned; that I may make it clear in the way I ought to speak. ”
I teach various size classes 8 times each week at Jefferson Baptist Church, and some in other churches and places as well. Each week I study, write, and pray diligently that I will be able to make the Word of God clear and understandable, and that those I teach would be highly motivated to put into practice the truth and principles that I teach. Often those I am teaching don’t get it, drift off from listening, and don’t seem very interested or excited about the material I am teaching. My first impulse is to get irritated at them, but then I remind myself of my personal law that I am responsible. Some might think that the responsibility ought to be shared, but the moment I give any of it away I am less motivated than I could be to study hard, write with focus, and to agonize in my prayers for those I will teach.
I love this guarantee given by the Apostle Paul to Timothy, his pastor in training in 1 Timothy 4:16 “Pay close attention to yourself and to your teaching; persevere in these things, for as you do this you will ensure spiritual growth both for yourself and for those who hear you.”
Now that is a guarantee worth taking responsibility for.