July 26, 2011

Mark 12:43-44 Calling his disciples to him, Jesus said, “I tell you the truth, this poor widow has put more into the treasury than all the others. They all gave out of their wealth; but she, out of her poverty, put in everything–all she had to live on.”

Two things stand out to me in this story. The first is of course the point that Jesus made, that God judges our giving on the basis of what we have, rather than any external standard. Despite this story being well known, that’s a lesson many people have a hard time learning. The second thing that stands out is that Jesus made perfect use of an opportunity He apparently didn’t expect, to teach His disciples this important truth. This is something all Christians need to be aware of, and especially those in specifically teaching ministries. This sort of thing is called a “teachable moment,” and most parents are aware of it. There are times when words of instruction or admonition are received and absorbed, and there are times when they are no more than background noise. The difficulty is that we can rarely predict when teachable moments will occur. In our relationship with God, they will occur much more often if we are actively seeking to be led and taught by Him. Every teacher knows, and rejoices in, those students who come to class eager to learn. Teaching them is a delight! We need to examine ourselves and see if we are that sort of student/disciple to the Lord.

As a secular teacher as well as a pastor, I am very strongly aware of this phenomenon, but I can’t claim that I’m perfect in being teachable toward God. However, I believe that by God’s grace I am seeking to be teachable, to keep pressing into Him. As a pastor, I need to seek the help of the Holy Spirit in recognizing teachable moments in those I serve and making full use of them. Sermons are of course to be under His full orchestration and direction, but that’s just the beginning. I need to be prepared to communicate God’s truth in love at all times to everyone, and I need to train the believers to do the same. That’s what Peter was talking about in 1 Peter 3:15, when he said “Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have.” When someone asks about faith, there’s a teachable moment right there! I need to encourage the believers to expect teachable moments in those around them and trust God to speak through them. (Luke 12:12)

Father, this is good training in trust and listening, because we can’t predict with any accuracy when teachable moments will occur. Help me, help us all, be in constant communication with You by Your Spirit, so that we ourselves will be teachable and so that we will make full use of teachable moments with those around us, drawing them into Your kingdom by Your grace and love, for their salvation and Your glory. Thank You. Hallelujah!

About jgarrott

Born and raised in Japan of missionary parents. Have been here as an adult missionary since 1981.
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