Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Teaching Takes Determination

Now Ezra had determined in his heart to study the law of the Lord, obey it, and teach its statutes and ordinances in Israel

Life demands so much energy, time, and focus from each of us. As with any commitment, teaching the Word of God adds yet another layer of demands.

If we take that commitment seriously we can become pulled between the obligation of teaching and the obligations of work and family. The bottom line is that living our lives sometimes pulls us away from what we believe God has placed in our hearts to do for Him - teach the Bible.  The result is guilt and even a sense of defeat. We become burdened because we feel we can't deliver what our groups so desperately need. This can lead us to consider walking away from our ministry of teaching because we don't feel as if we can do the job.

Or, if we relegate teaching to an obligation, then we become careless in our preparation and presentation of God's Word to those who depend on us. We might come before our groups with a list of quickly prepared questions or we might read something someone else has said about the Bible, leaving the group with a model of Bible study that really doesn't teach people how to study and live the Bible. This can lead to shallow, directionless, and even dangerous outcomes.

In either case, we need to learn from Ezra. He was determined; he had to determine in his heart to study God's Word. He also knew he had to obey it first before he could teach it. But, his determination didn't stop with studying or obeying; he was determined to teach it to all of Israel. What a determination from someone who could have been overwhelmed with the task, or approached it carelessly; both leading to the same results - a group that didn't know God's Word.

God help us - help me - to be as determined as Ezra!

If you want to know more about Ezra's commitment, Ken Braddy, member of the 4:12 Network, trainer, and blogger wrote a great blog about three things we can learn from Ezra. Check it out: Three Essentials for Being a Bible Study Teacher.