This article was written by Cathy Whitacre and was published in The Gospel Journal. As you know from other posts, Cathy was passionate about teaching God’s Word, especially in Bible class. You can find more from Cathy by clicking on ‘Cathy’s Corner’ in the subject area on the right sidebar.
Then He took a little child and set him in the midst of them. And when He had taken him in His arms, He said to them, “Whoever receives one of these little children in My name receives Me; and whoever receives Me, receives not Me but Him who sent Me.” Mark 9:36-37
What a beautiful sight—Jesus taking a child in His arms. When Jesus did this, He not only taught the apostles a valuable lesson, but you and me as well. If we receive these little children; we are receiving Him.
Those who have the blessing of teaching God’s little ones share the lesson that Jesus was teaching: which is to know Him! How excited Jesus must have been to see the little ones come to Him. We should be just as excited when we see young souls come into our classrooms. As Bible class teachers we have the privilege of taking young souls and introducing them to the mysteries of God’s word (Ephesians 3:3-4). We are likewise blessed by being able to watch them grow as Jesus did: And Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and men. (Luke 2:52)
Teachers are a vital part of the work of the church. The total quality of a congregation’s teaching program is the sum of the qualities of each teacher. When Jesus chose the twelve to follow Him and help spread the gospel, he did not go to the synagogues or to schools of higher learning. Jesus picked men of various walks of life. These men were not ‘born’ teachers but Jesus saw potential in each of them. We have the same potential if we love the Lord, His inspired Word, His church and our children. And the things that you have heard from me among many witnesses, commit these to faithful men who will be able to teach others also (2 Timothy 2:2).
Teaching is an exciting adventure with many rewards and blessings. But, in order to successfully complete the journey, teachers must do the following:
1. We must take our task seriously by using what talent we have and be the best servant we can be. The danger isn’t that we might lack a formal education and not know enough, it’s that we may become satisfied and feel we do not need to improve. In other words, we bury the talent we have. In Matthew 25:14-30 we see the account of the five, two, and one talent servants. We are servants of our Lord, yet like the servants in this passage, we are not all given the same talent or ability. However, we have all been given the same command to teach: Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit (Matthew 28:19). Since God gave the best that He had for each of us, how can we not give our best to His little ones!
2. We must be prayerful, taking time to communicate with our Heavenly Father. Is our prayer life growing as each day passes? 1 Thessalonians 5:17 tells us to pray without ceasing. Would we go for days or even weeks without talking to our earthly parents, and then only when we were in trouble or in need? How can we communicate to our students if we have not learned how to talk to the very One Who gave life to those souls in our classrooms?
3. We need to be faithful in our example by attending the services of the church: not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching (Hebrews 10:25). Remember, we are teaching even when we are not in the classroom. Will our students see us on Sunday and Wednesday evenings? I have yet to see a child not want to be like the adults around them. Do we want our students to emulate us?
4. We must be students of His Word in order to teach students His Word: Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth (2 Timothy 2:15) [The KJV states to study to show yourself approved unto God]. Do we enjoy opening God’s Word daily? Do we study and prepare a lesson that will unfold the scriptures to our students? Are we like the Bereans in Acts 17:11 who were searching the scriptures daily?
and Part 3 will be posted February 14.
About Cathy (at the time of this publication)
Cathy Whitacre is currently employed at Arlington Christian School. She and her husband worship with the Fayetteville Church of Christ where she teaches in the elementary program. She has been teaching for 35 years in all levels. Along with her daughter and daughter-in-law has conducted Teacher’s Workshops in Ohio, Tennessee, Texas, Georgia, Jamaica and Scotland. Cathy has been successful in several careers, but found her greatest achievement, along with her husband, in raising two faithful Christian children. She is also the grandmother of four and feels Christian education is one of the greatest mission efforts in which we can be involved.
About Cathy: Updated
Cathy Whitacre (1950-2015) was a Christian, wife, mother, Nana, sister, and friend. Cathy and her husband Gerry worshiped with the New Hope Church of Christ, in Bradyville, Tennessee.
Family was one of her crowning joys in life. Married to Gerry for over 47 years they had many years of adventure and love. Her children and grandchildren kept her busy and happy. Everywhere Cathy lived from Ohio, Illinois, Texas, Georgia, Tennessee and more she made dear friends who she considered family.
Cathy had the opportunity to participate in mission work for many years. She had the privilege of speaking at Ladies Days, teaching Vacation Bible Schools, and conducting workshops in Jamaica, Scotland, New Zealand, and in the United States.
Cathy was involved in teaching for over 50 years, from nursery to adults. Cathy felt that Christian Education is one of the greatest mission efforts we can be involved in, and the benefits are eternal.
This article by Cathy Whitacre was originally published in The Gospel Journal. It was in the July 2006 issue. Article is used with permission by The Gospel Journal.
Scripture taken from the New King James Version®.
Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson.
Used by permission.