February 15, 2018
(This is an updated version of a post from over two years ago.)
Evil people and impostors will become worse, deceiving and being deceived. But as for you, continue in what you have learned and firmly believed. You know those who taught you…
2 Timothy 3:13-14
Oh, I certainly do know them.
A long train of people exists from my earliest days whose lives taught, and teach, my heart. God gave me a heritage for which I am continuously and increasingly grateful. There are generations of Jesus followers in my family, and most of my relatives know Him.
(By the way, do you know The Messiah?)
Often a silent movie of faces and names glides by on the screen of my history. I “know those who taught” me, and the most significant, lasting teaching was through life together.
I have participated in thousands of classes, services, conferences, and seminars. What I remember best are people who shared their lives and hearts with me. They showed the way of life with Jesus. They walked it, and let me see the walk.
Whatever good is in my character came primarily from my mother and father who were faithful all their days. Family friends of their generation also showed me the way.
There is a man and his wife who, to this moment, pray daily for me and my brothers. They are steady as a rock. They continue to teach me about prayer, and they live thousands of miles from me. WJ and Dolores Boone have great rewards awaiting them.
The most transformational teaching in my experience has been deeply embedded in life together, over a significant amount of time.
Jerry Tuning never claimed to be much of a teacher. But he was deeply interested in each of us teenagers. He wanted to know who we were, and about our lives. Embedded in that history screen is him patiently showing several of us boys how to tune an engine. His stories were numerous, and rarely did he finish a Sunday morning lesson. But he cared for us and we picked up much more than the lesson intended.
Glen and Dorothy Coy sacrificed hours of personal time just to be alongside us teens. Simple, direct, unpretentious, they showed us life with God and one another. They didn’t have a stack of degrees and fancy curricula. They had hearts for God and for us, taught what they knew, and walked with us.
Bill Childs, my co-pastor at two stages of life, and in particular the first formative years of my full time ministry, spent time. We’d go out for hamburgers. He’d share his deepest concerns and joys. He’d always reference them to his life with The Messiah. He’d pray, on his face, for an hour, several mornings a week. A couple or three of us joined him. It was a way of life.
Do you suppose this relationship taught me anything?
My most memorable school teachers, greatly constrained as they were by “the standard” requiring them to teach whole blocks of kids the same thing, were the personable ones. They treated me as an individual, with interest in who I was, not just how much knowledge they had succeed in pounding into my gray matter. I wrote before about Mrs. Burns, who was an example of this.
I have given five examples of dozens who could be named.
Teaching is far more than the dispensing of knowledge pills. It is life-blending, example, imitation, vulnerability, walking together. It is mutual life access.
This I believe, and this is how I try to live. After all, belief is “by life”.