I think one comedy team understands the importance of teaching. Key and Peele did a routine a few years ago that looked at teachers as the heroes they are. It’s called “Teacher Center.” In this comedy routine teachers are looked at like star athletes, and they are free agents, are traded, and there are replays of classroom issues. It has been said that teaching makes all other professions possible, and yet the truth is that teachers are often maligned for their work. When students don’t achieve, parents blame teachers – not the fact that their child stays up until 2 or 3 AM texting with their friends. Teachers are often micromanaged as they plan to teach, with many of the edicts passed on to them by people who have never been in the classroom. Teachers deserve more respect and support as they seek to mold the next generation.
Paul was reminding Timothy of his responsibilities as a teacher as he prepared to face his execution. When he passed advice on to Timothy, he was speaking from his experiences. He had been there. “What you heard from me, keep as the pattern of sound teaching, with faith and love in Christ Jesus.” (2 Timothy 1:13) His reminder is a timeless reminder that today’s Sunday School teachers, preachers, and anyone passing on information in the church should take to heart. Keep a sound pattern of teaching with faith and love in Jesus Christ.
If you think about how we look at people and jobs in the church, we treat evangelists as superstars. They lead people to Christ and we hear numbers that are amazing. They come to a church and speak and a large number of people come forward to confess Christ as Savior and Lord. What we often miss is that just as important is the task of discipling these new converts. How will they learn without a teacher? How will these new converts become mature in the faith without someone to teach them God’s ways? The Great Commission talks about making disciples and teaching them – not about making converts. Obviously, people need to confess their sins and trust in Jesus as a convert, but that’s only the beginning of their journey in Christ. Paul tells Timothy later in the letter to do the work of an evangelist, but even then, it’s in the midst of teaching proper doctrine.
You can see it in people’s eyes when you tell them that you teach children in Sunday School. They may even say something like, “Oh, that’s sweet, thank you so much,” but you can tell that deep down, they don’t have a high opinion of teaching Sunday School. Adult Sunday School teachers run into opposition in the world – teaching Sunday School for any age really isn’t seen as important by many. In truth, though, it is Sunday School teachers that are on the front line in the battle for this generation and the next. They have to show an example of faith and love in Christ, they have to teach sound doctrine – and try making it understandable for first graders, they have to battle a week’s worth of lies that kids hear in the world in the hour allotted for Sunday School. And most Sunday School teachers do an amazing job. More children come to Christ every year because of the work of Sunday School teachers than from the preaching of an evangelist or a pastor. “Sound teaching, with faith and love in Christ Jesus” is what keeps the church moving forward from one generation to the next. Today, thank God for those teachers He has placed in your life. They are more valuable than gold!
Lord God, so many have taught me through the years and I am grateful for the influence they have had on my life. I pray for those teaching Sunday School this weekend. Guide their preparation and their hearts to show children and adults faith and love in Christ Jesus.