Who is the Teacher?
“And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart.
You shall teach them diligently to your children.”
AS THE HEAD OF THE FAMILY SHOULD TEACH THEM IN A SIMPLE WAY TO HIS HOUSEHOLD.
LUTHER’S SMALL CATECHISM
RALLY DAY IS NEARLY UPON US! A new year of teaching God’s Words diligently to our children is about to begin! Sunday School will start afresh, Catechism Class will fire up in earnest, the choir will sing once again, the Adult Bible Study will embark on a journey through the Torah and the Liturgy, and perhaps a few other surprises might be in store.
But who will teach those words? We know God’s encouragement: “Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it” (Proverbs 22:6); we know God’s exhortation: “Bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord” (Ephesians 6:4). So who does the training? Who brings them up?
I suppose you could start with the pastor. After all, Paul writes that God has given “the shepherds (pastors) and teachers to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ” (Ephesians 4:12), and that pastors must be “apt to teach” (1 Timothy 3:2). Pastors are, indeed, teachers of the Church.
But what about the parents? After all, Paul addresses the fathers in Ephesians 6, and by extension the mothers who are bound together with the fathers in the Fourth Commandment. Parents should, indeed, be directly involved in the education and formation of their children’s faith.
But what about the rest of the congregation who are neither church worker nor parent? You are still a part of the body of Christ, and God has given you His Holy Spirit’s gifts for the common good (1 Corinthians 12). You are still called to use and develop those gifts faithfully and to the best of your God-given ability.
IN THE COMING MONTH we will be looking for volunteers to help teach God’s Words diligently to our children in Sunday School. You may feel that lack of time, lack of skill, lack of chutzpah, or some other lack prevents you from being able to help out. Rest assured, nearly any of those apparent hurdles can be overcome. It is always best to determine first if something is good and God-pleasing to do, and only then to determine how it can happen.
It may seem that the burden of helping to teach and form the faith may be too heavy, but know that you will not be alone in the endeavor. You will have the support of the pastor and the rest of the congregation; but more importantly, you will have the help of the Holy Spirit who empowers our gifts, and the burden of any mistakes we may (that is, will) make has already been carried by Jesus’ broad shoulders on the cross. We teach grace and forgiveness that covers a multitude of sins, and the greatest teacher and giver of that grace is Jesus Christ, the same Jesus Christ who promised immediately after commanding to go, baptize, and teach: “I am with you always, even to the end of the age!” (Matthew 28:20)
Your fellow servant in Christ,
Who is the Teacher?