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Effectively Teaching the Word

(Deuteronomy 6:1-9,20-25)

Lesson 8 -- fourth quarter 1999
October 24, 1999

by Mark Roth
© Copyright 1999, Christian Light Publications

Today I want you to consider yourself from both sides of the teaching transaction. First we will look at you as the role you are likely most accustomed to filling: learner.

"When thy son asketh thee in time to come...." We have here what strikes me as a logical assumption: Those who don't know ask those who do. Other ways to phrase this include "Those who don't understand ask those who do" and "Those who follow ask those who lead" and "Children ask parents." So take this assignment and complete it: ask someone. More specifically, ask someone why a spiritual practice or belief is held. And even more specifically, ask one or both of your parents.

I'm serious! I know. At your age you likely already have plenty of the answers...but treat yourself again to the wisdom and perspective of your parents. You will all be the better for it, and so will your relationship. (Caution: keep your attitudes right!) Here you have some sample questions you might try (if they fit, naturally):

Do you wonder what might be the point of such an exercise? Well, I have another one to suggest: let your class tell you what the value of this might be. Be sure to look for the challenges yourself first!

Now we can look at you in a role which may well seem unfamiliar to you: teacher. First of all, please be clear about this: a teacher is one who passes on truth to another. Don't assume that this role isn't yours merely because you haven't a "formal" teaching position.

Everyone who knows must somehow pass along at least significant portions of that knowledge to someone else. Everyone who understands must strive to bring light to others. So begin with this: What do I know and understand that merits passing along to another? (Remember, the focus here rests on the spiritual.)

If you come up with at least one thing in answer to the question, then you are accountable before God to pass it on. You see, freely you have received so freely give.

So far so good, but we haven't quite finished yet. I believe God holds you accountable for what you could know and then pass along. So now it would seem we are back to the first role. To be a teacher you must also be a learner. Always. No exceptions. So let us get busy!

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