“And the Lord’s bond-servant must not be quarrelsome, but be kind to all, able to teach, patient when wronged….” (2 Timothy 2:24).
I am a teacher.
When I was a senior in high school, a classmate gave me one of those unforgettable moments that lives in one’s mind forever. Principal Andy Davis had summoned me to his office to help Jerry Crittenden with a math problem. Now, Jerry was a big football player, lovable and kind-hearted, and a joy to be around. But in math, the guy was lost.
Toward the end of our session, Jerry said, “Joe, you should be a teacher. I can understand it the way you explain it.”
Eighteen months later, following a frustrating freshman year of college that taught me one huge thing–I do not want to major in physics!–I realized that God wanted me to be a teacher. He had gifted me with a love for history as well as a delight in learning, and had surrounded me with some excellent teachers as role models.
At the time, I thought the idea was to become a history teacher in high school and later, after getting the necessary education, in college. Then, as a senior in college, God called me to preach. I think members of my churches over these years would say, however, that Joe never quit teaching.
And that’s good.
“Able to teach.” What a strange thing the Apostle Paul did. In the middle of calling his preachers to hold down the noise, to quieten the arguments, and still the controversies, he wants them gentle and patient and kind–and able to teach.
Pastor search committees would do well to put this skill high on their list of requirements when checking out preachers.