Teaching by following.

If you were starting today to teach people to grow vegetables, what would you do?

That’s not a complicated question, I don’t think. Planting vegetables involves preparing soil, planting seeds, watering, weeding, harvesting.

But we get confused about the teaching part. What technology do we use? How many lessons? How much of a professional do I have to be in order to teach? What have other people always done? And then we would get excited about the options of ways to teach. And then we would get worried about whether we were teaching well enough, if people watching would judge us. And we would lament that we can teach the way we used to teach.

If your goal is to be an amazing teacher or a skilled technologist, perhaps those questions and that confusion would be appropriate. But if your goal is to teach people to grow vegetables, what matters most is preparing soil, planting seeds, water, weeding, harvesting.

Right before Jesus disappeared, he said that he wanted his followers to teach people to follow everything that he had commanded, and he promised to be with them. Teaching people to follow is best done by following. In fact teaching BY following is perhaps even more effective that teaching TO follow. It’s more challenging to practice loving God with all our hearts and with all our souls and with all our minds and with all our strength than it is to tell others they ought to obey. It’s more challenging to love my neighbor than it is to tell my neighbor to love me.

I find it easy to get caught up in attempting to discern the signs of the times, to decide who is right about what research. But that isn’t my calling.

My fundamental calling is about learning how to love, and in that process, to teach others how to love.

It’s possible that’s your calling, too.