One of my favorite thing about teaching, whether I’m teaching children or adults, is witnessing the lightbulb turn on in their brains. The process of going from ignorance to knowledge is an incredible one to be a part of.
When I was living in Flagstaff a few years ago, I had one of the coolest teaching experiences: I was able to tell kids about Jesus who had never heard of him before. I had been teaching kids and working in churches for years at this point and every kid I had ever taught, up until that point, had at least heard of Jesus before. I remember so clearly when one of them asked me “Who’s Jesus?” on the playground one night. Our church was the first one they had ever been to, so their entire view of the Lord was based on what we taught them. As you can imagine, after that day, we changed up our curriculum to meet their needs.
“Also Jeshua, Bani, Sherebiah, Jamin, Akkub, Shabbethai, Hodiah, Maaseiah, Kelita, Azariah, Jozabad, Hanan, Pelaiah, the Levites, helped the people to understand the Law, while the people remained in their places. They read from the book, from the Law of God, clearly, and they gave the sense, so that the people understood the reading.” Nehemiah 8:7-8 (ESV)
The actions of these Levites so remind me of Jesus. They weren’t concerned with withholding information so that they could retain power like the Pharisees did, but they spent time with each person so they could know who God was. Jesus didn’t bring confusion to the people, but instead brought clarity. He shared the heart of God for the people and demonstrated what grace was. He displayed love with his words and actions.
It’s so easy to make things unnecessarily complicated, but the gospel isn’t complicated. And God’s instructions to us are pretty simple: love God and love others.
Most of the time, I want to add limits or rules so that I can get out of whatever it is that I don’t want to do. If I make my love conditional, that’s more comfortable for me. But that doesn’t match up with the life of Jesus. I’m always going to fail in my love because I’m imperfect and I will make mistakes. But it is my privilege to live in a way that’s worthy of the calling that God has called me to. And the primary calling, no matter what else he’s picked us for, is to love.
I wonder how many times we’ve added rules or limitations to the things of God so that we can get out of doing something that makes us uncomfortable. Or how many things we’ve added stipulations to because we didn’t want to do it. Or how many things we’ve made unnecessarily confusing to exclude others.
I believe that we can bring clarity to others with our words and how we live. We can go about our days and lives in such a way that people will know the character of God just by our actions. If we can begin to apply these things in little ways to our lives, I think our world could look like a drastically different place.
Do you bring clarity to others?
Are there any areas where your actions directly conflict with the gospel?