I’ve never sniffed or shot up cocaine, and I won’t, but I’ve heard about its pleasurable effects. But it couldn’t be any better than the way I feel right now as I remember the women students who taught the Bible in my Women Teaching Women course this afternoon. I’ve watched them metamorphasize from first day timid deer-in-the headlights students to solid Bible teachers today. A mother of four teen girls, an African American with a melodious voice, an islander from Saipan, and a millennial graphic designer. What a contrast and what beautiful words they declared as women in Christ!
I remember their puzzled looks and questions the first weeks of class as we worked through the process: exegetical, theological, then homiletical big ideas, structure and flow, word choice, introductions, conclusions and transitions, abstract to concrete, the use of vivid word pictures and stories, moving across the bridge from an ancient world to the world where women live today, outlines written in complete sentences to reflect full ideas that lead to biblical world views and life change, words that speak to women in contemporary language, saying it with passion and punch. Much to contemplate, synthesize, and apply.
Then their first creation, an experiment in art and design with words from God’s Word and their own attempt to put it all into practice. Nerves, thirst, hearts’ pumping, connecting, awakenings. Speaking afraid and seeing the listener’s responses. Trying again; experiencing progress. I just might be a Bible teacher. Yes, I think I am. Yes, they hear me. They are touched, and moved, and changed. Yes, it’s really me up here.
The mother of four teen girls challenged us to stop using the word love so carelessly and to exhibit a lifestyle of biblical agape love and sacrifice (1John:3:16-18). The African American single shared her journey from seclusion to community (Hebrews 10:23-25). The Saipanese exhorted us to leave behind insecurity and to glorify God through our unique design as women (Esther 2:12,13). For the last message, the millennial called us to choose and value friendship in marriage instead of settling for romance (Song of Solomon 5:16). Each one captivated us, motivated us, and challenged us to live sold out Christian lives. I found myself lost in pure joy as I watched each one use their unique voice to declare biblical truths.
I suppose cocaine must be exhilarating, but I doubt any addict every experienced more pure joy than I did this afternoon. To see baby steps turn into solid skill is glorious. It’s knowing that although my name and investment will be forgotten, except possibly in a brief think-back moment, they will go on to energize women for Jesus. It’s my way of investing in a future that I will not see from this side of earth anyway. It’s my way of sending my love for Jesus on ahead. I trust they will pass it on, and some of my students will become addicts like me. I’ll take teaching over cocaine any day.
If you’ve thought about teaching and you believe God may have designed you for it, check it out. If you teach now, kudos my friends. Keep teaching. You won’t get paid enough to sustain a cocaine habit, but you won’t need one. You’ll get high on spiritual cocaine–and its free. Pass this on to teachers you know and thank them for their investment. They just might need a fix.