Tuesday, September 3, 2013

When You are Tired from Teaching

One downcast believer makes twenty souls sad. 
Charles Spurgeon

The title of this blog was intentional -  When you are Tired from Teaching and not Tired of Teaching. Over the years I have watched numerous great teachers decide to stop teaching. They often explain to me that they love teaching their Bible study groups, but that they are tired. They are tired from the ongoing investment in people's lives, tired from the expectations placed upon them from their groups, tired from the week to week obligation of preparing to stand before a group to teach God's Word, tired from the self-imposed responsibility they have regarding teaching God's Word in a worthy manner. 

Yes, I have been tired at times and I have even entertained thoughts of quitting, too. We all face these walls of discouragement at some points in our lives if we are committed to teaching the Bible. Here are three things that God has used to keep me going when I am tired from teaching:

  • Commitment. I can't quit something just because I am tired. I can't quit just because it takes time away from things that I love to do or would like to do. I have had conversations with teachers who have stepped down because they wanted more time for everything from playing golf to going fishing. I had to realize that commitment meant I would be sacrificing some time I could choose to spend on leisure activities or other interests. Commitment doesn't mean you can't have leisure time; nor does it mean that you sacrifice other priorities that are vital such as family. It just means that you have to balance your time so that you can still enjoy life and honor other commitments. When life is out of balance it seems we always want to do away with something that requires commitment in order to enjoy something that doesn't require as much commitment. Balance is the key.
  • Caring. When you invest and invest in people, and you don't necessarily see the fruits of your labor, you can become tired. It is during these times that I get with God and ask Him to remind me that the investment has eternal implications. We may never see the full fruit of our investment in other people. Our caring does bring a return. We just have to be measuring that return in the right way.
  • Calling. I view my role as a Bible study teacher as a calling. If I quit because I am tired, then I am communicating to the people who observe my life that the God who called is not the God who can sustain me. I can't quit unless I feel God wants me to do so. Be careful not to look for excuses to quit when God is simply looking for you to submit to His will. Calling is the bottom line. It is the glue that keeps us together when we grow tired. God will sustain you and encourage you if you let Him.
Let the words of God to Joshua the leader be a reminder to us of the importance of remaining strong.

Haven’t I commanded you: be strong and courageous? Do not be afraid or discouraged, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”
Joshua 1:9, HCSB