Five weeks ago, I was granted the opportunity to teach the college class Sunday School at our local First Baptist Church. Seems like a logical choice...college teacher by week, Sunday school college teacher by weekend. Guy knows how to present a message to a group...etc...
I have prepared two lessons so far. The first took me 7 hours, the second took me 8 (and I was wrong about teaching that week anyway so I never got to deliver it). It is REALLY hard! I wish I had a Master's in theology versus a Master's in Psychology.
Doling out man's wisdom is easy compared to comprehending some of the mysteries of God...and getting it wrong...well, that would be bad.
It doesn't help that the topic for last week was James 2 (Wherein he seems to contradict Paul's contention that we are saved by faith and not by works.) Even bible scholars have shied away from that one.
It gets better though, next Sunday, when I am (for sure) teaching, I get to deal with James 1. This is where James (probably the half-brother of Jesus) says that we are blessed when we face trials and hardships.
GREAT! If I were a religious man, and I am, I would say there is a conspicuous irony in ME being the one to present these passages with insightful commentary. I worry that I might see this a bit differently than some in the Baptist church.
One preacher whom I respect a great deal once told me he believed that trials and test come directly from God in order to test us, to temper us (like steel). I don't like that answer. C.S. Lewis is quoted, erroneously I might add, in the movie Shadowlands as saying that hardships on us are like "blows of the Master's hammer upon our souls, which hurt us so much at the time, but make us perfect." My thought there is..."ummm, couldn't we just skip the blows of the hammer and start out perfect please."
Anyway, the movie progresses to the point where he is challenged in his earlier views to see such trials as coming from God. Indeed, James himself says that we aren't to consider temptation as coming from God because God can't do anything evil.
It's all very confusing without a real grasp of things like .... GREEK!
Yes. Quite ironic. Anyway, fortunately for me, my church membership, and my sanity, I own a really good bible commentary...and there is one for free on the Internet which sells in stores for several hundred dollars.
That's why it takes me so long. Understanding, much more teaching the Word of God involves understanding Who it is all about, and the fact the He is a much more capable people builder than I.
So once again, I am reminded that, IT'S NOT ABOUT ME!!!!!