Think about a time when God used a circumstance to totally surprise you, and either taught you something totally new or reminded you of something important you’d forgotten. What was it that God did, or provided? What did you learn from it?
Last Monday we explored the importance of being there for your fellow teammates in ministry. Today, we build on that and look at one of the more overlooked benefits of spending time with others.
Think about this: You’re going along, growing relationships with those you serve alongside, and a situation just… presents itself. You weren’t looking for it. You may not have even felt ready for it. But there it is. God’s thrown it into your path anyway.
The good news is, God always does it for a reason. He’s providing an opportunity to grow both you and those you’re with, and you didn’t even have to work for it. The question is, are you going to recognize that moment when it comes, and how are you going to let God use it?
And here’s another question: How might He use those teachable moments so that you’re not only able to teach others, but so God can teach you?
Jesus took advantage of teachable moments all the time, and sometimes even went out of His way to create them. We might think: We’re just not that creative. And Jesus is… well, you know… Jesus. But again, God often throws things in our paths that we weren’t expecting so that He can teach us something new, or teach us something we thought we already knew in a brand-new way.
So let’s focus on at several passages where Jesus is taking whatever’s thrown at him—very human situations—and turning them into eternal lessons. And just to prove that this isn’t only Jesus’ territory, we’ll look at one example from Paul’s life, too. Read the list of passages, and reflect on the questions afterward.
• Matthew 22:15-22
• Mark 9:33-37
• Mark 12:41-44
• Luke 7:36-50
• John 8:1-11
• Acts 17:16-34
• What common themes or circumstances do you see in these situations?
• Besides the fact that Jesus is… well, you know, Jesus… what prepared him (and Paul) to use those moments when they came his/their way?
• Which of these qualities or ideas could you use the most right now?
• Who do you know that excels in that area? What would you like that person to teach you?
As Dallas Willard stated in The Divine Conspiracy, “[W]e are not to ‘catastrophize’ and declare the ‘end of the world’ when things happen. We are to see every event as an occasion in which the competence and faithfulness of God will be confirmed to us.”
And here’s another perspective: “But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect, keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behavior in Christ may be ashamed of their slander” (1 Peter 3:15-16).
• How would the attitude Peter describes here increase the number of teachable moments we have with those around us?
• How would it increase the number of teachable moments God has with us?
May God open your eyes to the opportunities around you, and give you a sense of expectation of what God wants to do with those moments in your lives.