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Monday, April 4, 2016

Spilling Over

A few years back I was assigned 1 John for a Sunday school class.  To prepare I studied 1 John.  I followed my normal practice, overview of the book, section by section analysis, finally summary of the book.
Spilling Over
During my analysis of 1 John 1, I was overwhelmed.  After announcements and other pleasantries in the classes there is about 20 minutes left for the content.  Add that to the fact that I do not lecture but engage a class by asking questions about the text, and I despaired of being able to share or lead the group through a tenth of what I was seeing in those ten verses.

The sensation was that of flood waters building up behind a dam.  I was about to burst with what I saw.  But I knew that it was both impractical and impossible to cover it all.  So I started writing.  I did not want to lose what I had seen.  That writing ended up in the workbook that accompanies Your Walk, their walk.

The point of sharing this experience is that as leaders of our families, our churches, or whatever charge the Lord has given you, we are to lead them from the Word.  In the case of my work in prep for the 1 John class, what I did in class spilled over from the flood that was behind the dam.  There was so much more.  My observation is that is not the case in many of the classes I have attended and many of the messages I have heard.

Rather than the individual’s time in the Word spilling over into the lives of those for whom he has been given charge, it seems that the preparation has been focused on the presentation.  Rather than reveling in the presence of God in His Word, work is done to support the points the teacher or speaker wants to share.

Instead of spilling over from their time in the Word, they backfill their message or lesson.  By that I mean that they find verses that they suspect supports the points they want to make.

That seems bassackwards to me.  If I am reading the charge that God has given those who are charged with teaching and speaking to His people, He expects them to come spend time with Him in His Word.  He expects that Word to overwhelm them.  To fill them with such a magnificent vision of His glory that it cannot be shared or contained.  That must spill over into the lives of those with whom they speak.  Check out Jeremiah 23 and Ezekiel 34, see if I got it right.

It seems that is what should be our experience.  Is that yours?

1 comment:

  1. There is a mystical power that comes with sharing what we are learning from and about God from our own lives. As a hearer, it is not hard to tell the difference from teaching where the Word of God comes through the teacher first and when it is primary mental theory. The first is life-giving, the latter all too often is deadening.

    In 2 Tim.3:10-12 the Apostle Paul puts his teaching in the context of his real life. On that basis he he has already exhorted Timothy to pass it all on to others who will also teach and develop other men to do the same.