Thursday, April 17, 2014

Introduce People to the Teacher and Step Aside

Church of the Nativity in Jerusalem
45 While all the people were listening, Jesus said to his disciples, 46 “Beware of the teachers of the law. They like to walk around in flowing robes and love to be greeted with respect in the marketplaces and have the most important seats in the synagogues and the places of honor at banquets. 47 They devour widows’ houses and for a show make lengthy prayers. These men will be punished most severely.”
- Luke 20:45-47

Among things I never wanted to be when I was a child was a public speaker. I am an introvert, by personality. I didn't mind being on stage if I could hide behind my guitar. But I would feel physically sick days before having to get up in front of a class to give a book report or show-'n-tell. I would rather have a root canal than do that.

So what did God do with me? In spite of my fear and reluctance He called me to speak in front of people. If anything good comes out of my teaching and preaching I find it easy to thank God, who has made this possible.

Now I've got 44 years of public speaking and teaching behind me. Tonight I open my mouth and talk to others again. I'll teach two classes back to back - World Religions and Christianity in Redeemer Ministry School, and Intro to Logic at Monroe Community College. You would think I wouldn't feel nervous after all the teaching experience I have. But I do, and I will. 

I feel confident and nervous at the same time. I'd rather be this than arrogant and presumptuous. I'd rather be personally insecure and forced to find my security in God than be some Big Speaker who can't wait to be seen by others. In the verses above, Jesus warns the people about Big-Speaking, showy, pretentious religious preachers who love to be seen by others in all the glory of their personal abilities and religiousness.

Here is Jesus teaching in the Temple courtyards a few days before going to the cross. As He says these words it is nearly certain that "teachers of the law" are also listening. Jesus just flat-out tells His followers to stay away from such people, for they are neither servants nor humble. They have neither God's interests nor your's in mind.

In the Matthew version of this passage Jesus goes on to say: 

   8 “But you are not to be called ‘Rabbi,’ for you have one Teacher, and you are all brothers. 9 And do not call anyone on earth ‘father,’ for you have one Father, and he is in heaven. 10 Nor are you to be called instructors, for you have one Instructor, the Messiah. 11 The greatest among you will be your servant. 12 For those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.

Professional titles, to Jesus, are irrelevant. Servanthood is what is required. In order to be a Jesus-like servant leader humility is the proper attitude. I'm still being schooled about this. 

You and I don't need to be known by others. 

Introduce people to The Teacher and step aside.


1. Jesus was a Servant-Leader. How can you follow Jesus in this way and serve other people today?

2. Take some time to get alone with God today. Confess any desire to want to be applauded by people. Ask Him to create more humility in your heart. Exalt and glorify Him in prayer and song.