I need to be the student………not the teacher.

November 10, 2008

My confession is not that simple, but I think it at least gives me something to work with.

In fact, I believe that we, as Christians, tend to think that it is our job to “teach” people the right way to live instead of listening to them and letting them teach us.

In the book of James it tells us to be slow to speak and quick to listen, but I have seemed to neglect this.  I mean, I’m smart, right?  I need to tell people everything I know, right?  Well I am beginning to figure out that the Gospel is quite the opposite…….

The people who I have learned from the most in my life has been the people that I had “seeked to help.”  It seems that the people I wanted to help ended up helping me.  You see, our biggest downfall is when we start to believe that we are somehow better than someone else. 

We don’t go to the margins of society to “help the poor people.” We go to the margins to listen to the voices that our society has muted. 

We don’t give a meal to someone so we can do our good deed because we have the resources.  We share a meal with someone so we can learn about their life and build a relationship with them.

We don’t throw theological nonsense at people who don’t understand it.  We listen to their stories so they can teach us something about their theology.

We don’t go to people and throw the Gospel at them.  We become united with one another so that the Gospel will pour out of both of us. 

We don’t say we love someone just so we can tell them the right way to live.  We just love them.

I don’t understand why I consistently do this, but I am started to learn that if we start every relationship with “what can this person teach me” instead of “what can I teach this person” we might be on to something.

We have a lot to learn from the people around us.  So just listen…….


You might learn a thing or two.


One Response to “I need to be the student………not the teacher.”

  1. jt said

    I think all those things you said are true, but, I think our best teaching maybe comes from our actions and the things we say that we perhaps don’t think about. I’m in school with you and learn from you all the time…but I don’t think you mean to “teach” me…

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