Christianity by Observation….


Today’s Reading — 6:6 — The one who is taught the word is to share all good things with the one who teaches him. The one who is taught the word is to share all good things with the one who teaches him. 

      Where are you being taught the word? This used to be a simple question with an exclusive answer — from my pastor. Today, we live in an information rich environment, and we can be taught by many sources.- senior pastors, small group leaders, sub pastors, TV, Internet, DVD, radio, etc., or even by formal instructors in institutional educational settings. All of these sources and more can teach us in the sense that information about the word can be transferred to us through them. 

    These verses have been translated for centuries as speaking to the importance of people supporting the ministry of the Gospel. Five hundred years ago, Luther saw it way when he wrote — These passages are all meant to benefit us ministers. I must say I do not find much pleasure in explaining these verses. I am made to appear as if I am speaking for my own benefit. If a minister preaches on money he is likely to be accused of covetousness. Still people must be told these things that they may know their duty over against their pastors. Our Savior says: Eating and drinking such things as they give; for the laborer is worthy of his hire. (Luke 10:7) Obviously, one meaning is to encourage people to financially support ministers of the Gospel who tea ch them the Word. Is teaching the word solely based on the transfer of written or spoken information?  

   Let’s look a little deeper. I think it is especially important today when our options for sources of information are so wide. One way to learn to is receive information about the text from someone. A far better way, one which is excluded from most of the methods mentioned above, is by simple observance of the teacher’s life. Jesus didn’t teach the twelve and walk away. He lived with them, ate with them and walked many hot hard miles with them. They saw Him walk out what He taught. Many pastors effectively communicate the Word on Sunday morning, but preach a different message the rest of the week with what they watch on TV, the web sites they visit, their absent prayer life, bible study and their lack of compassion for the poor while they life in relative opulence. They preach that we serve a God of distribution, but live lives of futile accumulation. God has made it clear that teachers of the Word are held to a higher standard — Let not many of you become teachers, my brethren, knowing that as such we will incur a stricter judgment. (James 3:1)

    Here’s a question I find very challenging about my own spiritual integrity. What is your teacher teaching you when he or she is just walking our the days o f thier lives? If you become an exact copy of them, will your life align with the Word? If you are a minister of the Gospel on any level, is your life worth replicating? We all teach on some level. Parents teach their children. We all teach those who observe us what a real Christian is. Do they see us pray? Do they see us study the Word? Do they see us struggle against temptation? When they see us fail, do they also see us wrestle with our flesh, repent and return to God? If someone interviewed our family, our friends, co-workers and our spouses, would they describe observing a biblical Christian, or are we just confirming their definition of hypocrisy? 

    But woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites, because you shut off the kingdom of heaven from people; for you do not enter in yourselves…. (Matthew 23:13a)
     In Him,


     Copyright 2008 © Stephen Faulkner and Mission of the Master Ministries, Inc. 

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