Last Monday I taught the book of Philippians to the students in our School of Biblical Studies. I get nervous before teaching- not because I have stage fright and not because I’m afraid of what they will think of me. I get nervous because I really want to do a good job- I don’t want to waste people’s time, but I also want desperately to convey something of who God is when I teach.
I know, I know- this is really only something God can do. At the same time, I am responsible to invest time in studying the books I teach so that I do have a foundation. God can speak through any donkey, but I don’t actually want to be an ass.
Teaching Philippians was a really good time. A few hours before the teaching started I had this wave of gratitude for the fact that I get to do the thing I’ve dreamed of doing! It’s ridiculous, people. I have no degrees and very little experience. But I get to spend serious time in God’s word and then I get to lead this awesome group discussion. This is what teaching mostly is to me. I love asking the students, “What do you see?” because even after studying for weeks and weeks they still see things I have not seen. It’s an honor and a joy. We laughed and we cried. Together we had a clearer picture, a fresh reminder of who Jesus really is and who God is really calling us to be together….
Up next? 1 Peter.
Can I be honest? I’m terrified of 1 Peter. I have a lot less time to study and a lot less of a previous connection to this book than I had with Philippians. I love 1 Peter, but I’m also real scared. Even as I admit that for all to read on the internets, I also feel a sense of excitement about what God will say through this book.
For many years, I was drawn to 1:13, “Therefore, prepare your minds for action, be self-controlled; set your hope fully on the grace to be given you when Jesus Christ is revealed.” I clung to this after being kicked out of college. I spent one very sober summer as a camp counselor in Wisconsin repeating this verse to myself over and over. I held on to this because the alternative was raging self pity and depression. Even when I feared that God was done with me, I preached to myself about being ready for whatever God might say next, being obedient and putting all of my hope in one basket (Jesus Himself).
That hope did not disappoint.