Be-Attitudes for Teachers: A Devotional for Sunday School & Other Bible Teachers
Be diligent in these matters; give yourself wholly to them, so everyone may see your progress. Watch your life and doctrine closely. Persevere in them, because if you do, you will save both yourself and your hearers. (1 Tim. 4:15-16)
Do you want to see your students' lives changed, to help them grow spiritually? Then you need to be diligent and persevere by keeping that vision or goal before you and by keeping the Word central.
To be diligent is to attend carefully to something. The original Greek word means to take care of, with the idea of letting something revolve in your mind. When something revolves it comes around again and again. This is what you do when you meditate on God's Word. You keep it constantly before you, thinking on it repeatedly so it becomes a part of you.
As a diligent teacher you will have a steady, earnest approach to your purpose. You will go to painstaking measures to care for it, to see it through to fulfillment. You will know what your goal is and keep it before you, whole-heartedly striving to maintain your course of direction. --You will be diligent.
You will vigorously attend to that which will contribute to the goal of changed lives. You will take great care, or be diligent, in keeping God's Word central. "Faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God." (Rom. 10:17) You will be careful to take your students beyond the facts of Scripture to helping them discover the meaning of these truths. You will take care to guide your students in discovering implications of God's Word to their daily living and you will encourage them to apply what they have learned in real life.
Let the vision keep revolving in your mind:
Teach for changed lives. Teach for changed lives.
As it does, you will build a resolve to do whatever it takes to see its accomplishment. Proverbs 29:18 says, in the King James Version, "Where there is no vision, the people perish." So, if you want to keep your teaching alive, you must be diligent. You must keep the reason for teaching ever before you.
Teaching requires more than a one-time commitment. The door of opportunity you walked through was more like a revolving door. You need to revisit that commitment, and then come around and look at it again and again. As you do, you will become refreshed and able to persevere.
For Teachers: Write a paragraph honestly answering the question, "Why am I teaching?" If it does not include something about making a difference in people's lives, desiring to see changed lives, then talk with God about whether you should be teaching. Pray He will develop within you the vision you need. Then rewrite the paragraph according to what the response should be. Pull out your paragraph every time you sit down to prepare a lesson over the next two to three months. See if letting your purpose revolve around in your mind makes a difference in how diligent you are in your teaching.
For Leaders: Plan ways of keeping the purpose consistently before your teachers. You could include catchy statements about it in a newsletter or in the bulletin. Enlist the help of your pastoral staff to refer to it from the pulpit. Be sure to mention it at teachers' staff meetings. Send your teachers notes of encouragement using distinguishing phrases. Leave notes for them in their classrooms from time to time.
For Group Use: If you don't already have a purpose statement, write one making sure it includes the overall goal of seeing changed lives and keeping the Word central. If you do have a purpose statement, revisit it in a fresh way. As a group, brainstorm specific, practical ways of carefully attending to it.
(Last updated 7/01/19)