Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Youth Teaching: Partnering with God

In the Old Testament, the Israelites often inquired of God when they were about to enter into battle against their enemies. When they failed to seek God’s council, battles went badly. When they did seek God and followed through by doing what He said, they incurred great victories.

I’m learning to seek God’s guidance in everyday decisions: in my writing and in my teaching. Like the Israelites, I’m learning the benefits of asking God first.

About six weeks ago, my husband told me on a Friday that a guest speaker would give a missions presentation to the two adult Sunday School classes. Would I like to bring my high school class to the presentation?

“I already have my lesson prepared,” I whined. “You should have told me earlier.”

“I thought your kids were interested in missions,” he said, “So they would enjoy this.”

He was right. My class has had several great talks about short term mission trips. I looked ahead in my curriculum. If I saved my planned lesson to the next week, showed the movie I wanted to show another week, did the special activity I had planned for yet another week, I could stretch my curriculum out to end right before I left for my own mission trip for three Sundays. My substitute was going to do his own thing and I could start something new when I got back. Besides, the last lesson of the series was on the Resurrection which would then fall exactly on Easter. It sounded like a plan.

But, I stopped. Shouldn’t I pray? But hadn’t God given me the wisdom to plan ahead? Still I prayed and asked the Lord’s guidance. My lesson for that week, of all things, was on the indwelling of the Holy Spirit and how He guides us in our daily lives. As I prayed whether I should teach or join the adults, one word invaded my thoughts as if someone had spoken inside my brain. “Teach.” “But that doesn’t make sense,” I thought. “That would mess up my plan for the next five weeks.” The thought came again, “Teach!” Since my lesson was on the Holy Spirit, I thought I had better listen, even though it didn’t make sense.
That Sunday I realized that was indeed God’s direction. The presenter of the mission program had an equipment malfunction with his power point presentation. My rowdy class would not have had the patience of the adults who sat through the moments of scrambling and uncertainty that occurred. We, in turn, had a fantastic lesson and I felt like I connected well with the students.

The reasons behind God’s direction to me became more evident as time went on. Two weeks later, Ohio experienced the third heaviest snowfall in 24 hours in recorded history. Churches all over the state, including ours, canceled services. There went my extra week. The very next day, we received word that my husband’s aunt passed away. Jack flew to Georgia, spent a grueling, difficult week with his family, then was caught in the Atlanta airport that Saturday that storms and tornadoes raged around Atlanta. He got home at 2AM, and I got to sleep at 3AM. How very thankful I was that I was showing my planned movie the very next day!

On Easter Sunday, I taught my lesson about the Ressurection and closed my book of curriculum. If I had excused my class for the mission presentation, I would not have been able to finish my curriculum in time and I would not have had that movie to show which made for an easy lesson time which I needed after only three hours of sleep. Six weeks ago, God knew about the upcoming snow day and the tornadoes in Georgia, and how they would impact my teaching schedule. He who controls the winds and the waves kept the storms of life from disturbing the lessons taught Inside My Classroom. He know all along!

Matthew 11:29 says, “Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart and will find rest for your souls.” A New Testament yoke was made for two oxen, not one. If one oxen leapt ahead or lagged behind, the yoke pulled them back into position. God is asking us to partner with Him in our teaching, to join with Him under the yoke and learn from Him. Part of that yoke bearing process is to ask Him for direction in your teaching. Seek Him. Listen to Him. Learn from Him. And watch Him do mighty things inside your classroom.

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