by Rev. Donna McKee
Every day I get a devotional in my inbox. A recent one was entitled “What Are You Teaching?” and it was based on the passage from Colossians 3:16, “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom…” The author’s point in this devotional was that it is the responsibility of every Christian to receive (learn) the Gospel and then share it “by our own life’s example” (teach). In other words, Paul recognizes each of us as Christian educators.
I have had many profound learning experiences in my life. Many of those experiences happened in the classroom or in the sanctuary. In these settings, learned teachers and preachers have passed on their wisdom, knowledge, insights and perspectives that have shaped the person and Christian I am today. However, I think for me the most transformational learning has occurred by simply watching others live out their faith.
This past weekend I attended a wedding. It was one of those reunion weddings—a gathering of folks who had at one time been very close, but now, unfortunately, see each other rarely. As I looked around the reception, I saw so many of my life-long friends who have taught me so much over the years.
One of my closest friends I saw at the wedding had a falling out with a woman that lasted for years. Finally, my friend decided that enough was enough and boldly reached out to the woman to repair the relationship. I couldn’t believe it! It would have been easy enough to carry that grudge with her to her grave. But not my friend! What a lesson she taught me in the power of love and grace and forgiveness! I thought if she can do it, then I can do it!
Another friend I saw made the decision several years ago to tackle her addiction to alcohol. She checked into a rehab and has been sober ever since. This friend sometimes talks about how messed up her life use to be and how embarrassing it all is. I always tell her that she is one of the strongest, bravest women I know. When I say this, she looks a little surprised. She has taught me about faith, perseverance and surrender.
Finally, this weekend, I had the chance to spend time with a friend who has been one of the most influential “teachers” in my life. She is one of the most compassionate people I have ever known—a natural-born caregiver. She is one of those rare individuals who ALWAYS sees best in others. From her, I have learned to look at other people through God’s eyes.
I have learned a lot about the Gospel from books, lectures, sermons, and discussions. Seeing the Good News unfold before me in the lives of people around me leads me to wonder, what am I teaching others? I hope and pray that it is the Gospel!