Having arrived early, we sat where we could see the street, so we did not miss their vehicle as it passed by the front windows. Keith went out to help them unload and before long two little boys came running in with smiles, hugs, and kisses. Judah, in fact, climbed right into my lap and did not leave it the whole time. Trying to eat even half of my Stogie around him was an adventure, but do you think for one minute I would have told him he needed to leave my lap? Not this grandma. I did have to be careful not to drip hamburger grease on his shirt, or drop a tomato or pickle slice on his little head. But Judah did not think about any of those things. He just assumed he was safe in grandma’s lap.
A few months earlier the boys stayed here for several days instead of just a few hours. They immediately picked up words, phrases, and songs. When one of them popped up that first night, I reminded myself then to be extra careful. Aren’t I careful all the time? Of course, but these little souls were learning from me even when I didn’t think I was teaching! And what was dropping into their hearts and minds was a whole lot more important than a drop of mustard on their heads.
If you are acting in any capacity as a teacher in the Lord’s household, the same is true of you. Keep a close watch on yourself and on the teaching. Persist in this, for by so doing you will save both yourself and your hearers, Paul told Timothy in 1 Tim 4:16. First look to yourself, for it is often said that a person learns more from a sermon seen than one heard. Make sure your life matches what you teach in every particular. It is too easy to blind ourselves to things that are obvious to others.
Then make sure over and over that what you teach is correct. Do not ever give an answer you are unsure of. Never be afraid to say, “I don’t know, but I will find out.” Never speak off the top of your head if you are at all uncertain. Make sure the student knows if something is an opinion only. I can tell you from experience that people will take things to heart you meant as a side note of no importance and they will repeat your words more than once to others, not out of spite but out of respect—they think you know what you are talking about, even when you don’t.
And it may not be a class situation. There may be someone out there who watches you with admiration. Maybe in the past you said something kind to them. Maybe they saw you do a good deed. Maybe someone else they respect told them about you. You are being watched whether you know it or not—every one of you! Take heed to yourself!
It isn’t just the little ears you have to worry about out there. And just like a grandchild implicitly trusts that his grandparents would never teach him anything wrong whether by word or example, there may be others out there who believe the same of you. What you do and say may indeed save them—and maybe not.
Show yourself in all respects to be a model of good works, and in your teaching show integrity, dignity, and sound speech that cannot be condemned…Titus 2:7,8.