Sunday, February 22, 2009

Faith issue

Today’s Reading: John 20:9 (NIV)

9 They still did not understand from Scripture that Jesus had to rise from the dead.

Good morning!

Have you ever taught Sunday school? I remember the first time I was asked to teach a Sunday school class. Jeff and I were young newlyweds; he had received his M.Div. (Masters of Divinity) and I had received my Ph.T. (Put Hubby Through). Since I was working on campus during the week to help pay Jeff’s tuition, I did not have the opportunity to attend the classes he took, and quite honestly, I felt totally inadequate to teach a Sunday school class. He had learned so much more in his studies. I was a high school graduate with virtually no formal college-level Biblical studies to my name. At first, I allowed overwhelming feelings of inadequacy to set in, and taught only when I absolutely had no other choice. It was not a joyful experience, at first. It amazes me that people can accept the Lord Jesus Christ as their personal Savior, yet, feel inadequate when called upon to explain why they believe.

While at our student appointment in seminary, there was a need for a teacher in the toddler Sunday school classroom. Our daughter Rachel was a toddler then, and my confidence in sharing the Gospel with babies had grown since I had become a mother myself. I gladly accepted the position, and began working with several wee ones. We would sing the songs I learned as a child, and play with various art mediums. The children especially liked finger painting, and I could see Jesus in every one of their paintings. It’s seems rather peculiar to me that with every church, there was a need for a Sunday school teacher at just my children’s ages. Teaching became easier for me, because my comfort level grew as my children grew. I actually think it was a God-thing. I began teaching upper elementary classes, and then working with junior and senior high classes. About the time my children grew up, I finally found some comfort level in teaching adults. I recognized my deep need to learn and grow even deeper in the Word. I believe this is something every Christian should do. Understanding why we believe what we believe is imperative if we long to draw deeper in a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.

I have the utmost respect for Sunday school teachers. They are willing to set aside their personal fear of inadequacy to share the love of Christ with others. Their testimony and powerful witness impacts folks for the rest of their lives. I can still remember the faces and the lessons I learned as a child in Sunday school class. Do you remember your teachers and how their words and actions have stayed with you through the years?

The disciples were there, standing at the empty tomb. They viewed the remnants of where Christ’s body had been laid; they saw the folded napkin and the empty shroud. They believed, yet they did not fully understand that Jesus had to rise from the dead to finish the redemptive work of salvation. They were there and still had faith issues. Why then, should we be surprised when we struggle to understand?

I have a friend who attends Sunday school at Faith United Methodist Church in House Springs, Missouri. His instructor, Janet Holdcraft, asked this question a couple of weeks ago: "The question isn't 'What would Jesus do?' as if he wasn't here or as if he wasn't doing anything. The question is 'What IS Jesus doing, and how can I join in?" How would answer her question? What was Jesus doing in the garden on that resurrection morning? What is He doing in your life right now?

Grace and peace,

Deb Spaulding

Faith UMC - St. Charles, MO


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