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Able to Teach Others Also

(2 Timothy 2:1-7; 4:1-8)

Lesson 12 -- fourth quarter 2008
November 23, 2008

by Mark Roth
© Copyright 2008

Introductory questions to chew

How much of these passages is intended for non-leaders?

Should all church leaders "be able to teach others also"?

What must I do to be more teachable?

What are some characteristics of itching ears?

How do I know the soldiering isn't only for church leaders?

What are some indicators of being entangled with this life's affairs?

"This lesson isn't for me!"

It isn't? "Well, I'm neither preacher nor teacher." Oh.

OK, I'll grant that most folks reading this aren't ministers. But the teacher business depends a lot on how you define teacher.

Generally we associate teaching with the transferring of ideas or knowledge. That seems to cover most of it; however, it misses a key ingredient. I'll give you my personal definition: A teacher is one who duplicates part of himself in another. Scary. This definition means that as soon as somebody starts copying me, I am a teacher. Maybe they haven't learned from me that the square of a triangle's hypotenuse is equal to the sum of the squares of its other two sides, but maybe they are using my manner with girls. Likely I didn't teach them that "time isn't a piece of eternity as it is commonly misconceived," but they may well reflect my attitude toward personal failure. Perhaps I haven't persuaded them that owning a house is too close to laying up earthly treasure, but maybe they are following my example in clothing styles.

This is more than scary; it's exciting! I don't say that because this gives us an opportunity to produce "clones" of ourselves. I say this because of the tremendous potential we have to help others walk in God's ways. That makes us teachers, which makes this lesson isn't for me!"for us. Oh, make sure you are faithful to God and His Word...for your own sake and for the sakes of those who follow you (whether or not you know it).

Don't drop it -- pass it on!

When the Lord passed off His "baton" to the Apostles and other disciples, they seized it and took off. Full speed ahead. This was a race -- against time and the devil for men's souls. This was a race -- a race that demanded runners, not joggers, not walkers, not couch potatoes. Any other attitude and any other speed translated into minimizing what Jesus began.

And so it has been down through the ages. As one batch of runners expended their time, energy and resources -- their lives -- they carefully and faithfully passed off the baton. The new runners, with fresh time, energy, resources and life, blazed off toward the goal. On and on they ran, compelled to finish what Jesus began.

But not everybody has been faithful. For some, their hands were too close to full with the things of this life and...they fumbled the baton. For others, careless living consumed critical amounts of energy, time, resources and life and...they lagged further and further behind. For yet others, their distracted eyes missed the critical "pass off" time, or their earthly-overtaxed hearts succumbed, or their out-of-step stride upset the rhythm and...right, you got it.

Now it is your turn! Will you be faithful or careless? Where is the baton? Are you training? Remember, Jesus began and He is counting on you to carry the message and the life forward. The ribbon across the track is in sight. This isn't the time to relax and slack off, it is the time to give the home stretch everything we've got! Jesus began; will your generation get to finish?

Alas for the home-grown prophet!

We can have such a hard time accepting the teaching of those who are one of us. We even have a way of struggling with rejoicing in the spiritual success and prominence of one of our own. We may not necessarily despise and mistrust him, but we certainly cannot afford him the ear, honor and esteem that we with such ease grant the one from another congregation (preferably out of state). If he's of our congregation, he will most likely enjoy higher esteem from those in other congregations. Why are we that way?


We know the local one. We have seen and heard him during his low times. We know many of his weaknesses and have had to put up with his failures. We remember his immaturity, maybe even his youth or childhood. He is, after all, one of us. How can we possibly accept him in this "strange" role as a prophet?! We aren't always like that, of course, but it is a human tendency against which we must maintain our guard. Blessed is the congregation which can produce its own home-grown prophets and leaders!


The local one knows us -- our low times, our weaknesses, our failures, our immaturity, and so forth. In a very direct sense, this makes us extra vulnerable to him and his prophetic voice. When he speaks, we can often be sure he knows exactly how it applies to us . . . and he knows that we know as well. We cannot pretend with him. So I still say, Blessed is that congregation which raises up its own home-grown prophets and leaders!


This factor is particularly unfortunate because it is magnified by the two preceding ones. Because we know him and his past as well as we do, we find it difficult to trust his spiritual gift and perception. And because we know he knows us just as well, we struggle with trusting that he isn't just trying to lord it over us or put us in our place.

Let's remember to "esteem them very highly in love for their work's sake. And be at peace among yourselves" (1 Thessalonians 5:12,13).

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