In Colossians 1:7, Paul mentions Epaphras and what the church in Colossae learned from him. Reading that got me thinking…
Who have I learned from over the years?
Naturally, I learned the most from my parents. I am who I am today because of the foundation they built in my life. Dad has always been a quiet, rather shy person, but when he was passionate about something, he loved to talk about it. I remember trips back and forth to Amman, Jordan’s capital, from our home in the village in north Jordan. He would let me ride with him every couple of weeks so I could go to Girls Scouts or band practice. Some trips would be spent in silence. Other trips, however, would be filled with wonderful things proceeding from the knowledge of my father. I loved those trips.
Then there was Mom. Besides being my school teacher and my primary example for prayer and quiet times, Mom had a habit of posing hypothetical questions. Case studies, so to speak. Few of them had “right” or “wrong” answers as far as ethics or decision making processes were concerned. But, all of them had one answer that was more in line with Scripture and the leadership of the Holy Spirit than other answers might be. And, although it’s much easier to declare a certain choice when the situation is hypothetical than when it is real, those questions and the resulting discussions taught me so much about truly getting down to the nitty gritty of following Christ in the challenges of life.
But, Dad and Mom weren’t my only teachers. There were many others. Two who actually stand out to me as I sit here and type were Sunday school teachers. One was my 7th grade Sunday school teacher at Geyer Springs FBC. Miss Lynette. I honestly don’t remember her last name or know if I even spelled her first name correctly. I also can’t remember a morsel of what she actually taught me. But, I do remember two things that have greatly shaped who I am today. 1) She loved us. I could not remember ever having a Sunday school teacher who seemed to truly be that excited about being with her class. 2) She was passionate about what she taught. She made it interesting, which was a big deal to me. I had never really liked Sunday school because, for the most part, the teachers were not excited about what they taught. They would just read from the quarterly while we sat and listened. Not Miss Lynette. She taught. I wanted to be just like her on both counts.
I wouldn’t meet another such Sunday school teacher until college – the beautiful and delightful Tracey Knight. Tracey was my zoology professor’s wife, and I must admit to some intimidation when I first entered her class. But, that very quickly faded as I was enveloped by her amazing personality. Apparently others felt the same way because her class was quickly filled to overflowing. I’ll never forget the morning she began teaching about the tabernacle. I braced myself for the ever-familiar boredom only to discover that she, like Miss Lynette from 7th grade, was passionate about teaching well. She didn’t stop with teaching, though. Tracey poured into our lives. It seemed she was never too busy for us. Again, I saw who I wanted to be. And, I am phenomenally blessed to still have her in my life as an example of who I want to be as I mature in Christ.
Who taught you? What did you learn? How has their teaching made you who you are today or formed your perception of who you want to be? More than that, who are you teaching? There are people, young and old, all around you who are hungering for a true teacher. Will you be Epaphras to them? If you will, I guarantee they will never forget. I know I haven’t.