There are many times that we have students in our home who come to study through international exchange programs. This year is no different. We have a sweet young lady from France who recently arrived. She is soft spoken, gentle, curious about all these new things she is being introduced to. Church, food, children, home learning….It is all so new and exciting for her! (and us too truth be told)
Today, to celebrate two of our children’s birthdays we headed to Green Bay; it was a day of riding amusement park rides, eating pizza and cotton candy and visiting with grandparents and great grandparents. Since we see them so seldom it is always a treat for the children to get to spend a day with them. Card games and cribbage and so much to talk about!
One of those things is Jesus. The great grandparents are not familiar with the joy of the Lord; they know nothing of this great life changing faith. Nor do our exchange students most of the time. Often there are some awkward moments (mostly with my mother in law) who unfortunately (?) sees every encounter with others as an opportunity to tell them what they must do to be saved. While some may admire the way she “preaches to all” I fear it catches very few.
No doubt we are commanded to go and teach and preach boldly the message of the Gospel. Yet I ponder as I listened to her today telling our student and “unsaved” family about how they just dress and what they must do . .. Are we teaching or are we catching, for Jesus?
There is a difference. We are called to be fishers of men, We are called to teach. Certainly there are many out there who have a need. The question is, do they see this need? We can preach to every person we meet, every day, every place but if they do not see for themselves, this need for Christ…
Humility. It is humility that draws other to see a difference and to desire what we have. Certainly I do believe that we are to dress in a way that is pleasing to the Lord; I believe that there is a way to be saved and I have no doubt that we must be obedient to the commands of our Lord.
But what does it profit, to tell someone who does not even know Him, how they must be saved? We cannot preach modesty, spiritual gifts, salvation or any other, to those who do not yet desire the milk of the Word.
I jokingly said to someone that the difference between catching someone and teaching someone is that, when you catch them, they aren’t completely willing. Perhaps they sit and listen for a time; maybe they agree with some of what you say, but they are not seeking. They may be pacifying – seeking to keep peace – they do not feel invited though so much as they perhaps feel trapped.
Teaching on the other hand, is something that happens when someone is pursuing a curiosity. Those we meet, as we learn of them and they learn of us, we are teaching. They are teaching. We learn and share, gently, together. We show the humility of Jesus. It is our work to encourage and inspire them; just as he served so ought we to serve. In humility.
Perhaps there are times we believe we are being humble; we ought to be cautious though. Why are we speaking? Is it out of pride because we feel we know more? Do we speak in a way that makes our faith sound tiresome? I consider the times I have engaged in conversation about the things I do, the ways I do them … Was I glorifying Him or me?
Can we stop and consider if we are being gentle and patient. Let us not be as the Pharisees – telling others all that we do and seeking glory from man – let us rather show grace. To them and to one another. We all have so much to learn. As I read and study more and more about the meekness and humility of Christ, I am sure, that there is so much more I must learn. I have no doubt we must pray more and more for humility and for meekness, of Christ, within ourselves.
And so this is my prayer. I do not want to catch them. I want to walk with them. I do not want to be in a hurry. I do not want to be bothered by all that they “need” to know and to do. I want to know them, as He knows them. Learning of them as they learn of Him. Walking by faith in patience and in love. One step at a time. ❤