Friday, May 25, 2007

Psalm 51: Everyone's a Teacher

Do you know that God has called you to be a teacher? You say, "Come on, Paul, you've got to be kidding! I've never been to seminary. I freeze up whenever I have to say something in front of a crowd. I don't feel that I'm as biblically literate as I should be. I don't think God really intends me to be one of his instructors."

Let me explain what I'm talking about. It's true that God sets apart certain people for formal teaching ministry in the church. He gives them the gifts and grace necessary to do the thing he's called them to do. But the formal ministry of the Word in the body of Christ is only one aspect of the church's teaching ministry. Paul says, in Colossians 3:16, "Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom." It's clear here that he's talking about the myriad of everyday life ministry opportunities that God will give everyone of his children. According to Paul, you have been called to teach. And if you want to understand what that means, you need to understand that there's no real separation between life and ministry. Rather, the Bible teaches that every dimension of human life is, at the very same time, a forum for ministry.

Now this is where David comes in. He says, in Psalm 51, "Restore to me the joy of my salvation and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me. Then I will teach transgressors your ways..." David is reminding us that what qualifies us to teach in the personal ministry context of daily life, is the grace that you received in your own moments of need. This teaching isn't about laying out a comprehensive theology of grace. Most of us wouldn't be qualified to do that. No, what it's actually about is realizing that my story of God having rescued me by his grace, is a tool that God intends to use in the lives of others. As I teach others, by being willing to share my own story, I am actually being a tool of transforming grace in their lives. In this kind of one on one, informal ministry, I'm not teaching the person ABOUT grace. No, I am sharing my EXPERIENCE of grace. People learn, not because I've opened the dictionary of grace, but because I've shown them the video of grace in operation.

So, are you a good steward of your story of grace? Have you thought about how to tell your story in a way that puts God and his grace in center stage? Have you looked around and considered who's living with or near you who could benefit from your story of grace? Where've you tended to not let your gratitude shine as brightly as it should? Where've you been unwilling to talk honestly about how much you were (and continue to be) a person in need of rescue?

So, it's true, you have been called to teach. Maybe not as a pastor, small group leader, Sunday School teacher, or a foreign missionary. But you have been called to a daily life of Gospel transparency, where you're ready, willing and waiting to share your gratitude for the grace you've been given, with someone who needs it just as much as you.


At 5:18 AM, Blogger Sajipthomas said...

Dear Dr. Tripp,

It's great to visit your blog and read some beautiful thoughts. your ministry (Bangalore,Dec 2006) had really made a difference in my life and ministry.

Saji P Thomas.

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