Able to teach
Right up front Harriet and I knew that seminary would be the next chapter of our lives. The ministry or purpose verses God gave me that day in Binkley Chapel provided clarity about the basic assignment of this calling---"to make plain to everyone the administration of this mystery" (Ephesians 3: 9, NIV). We also believed that part of that calling was the nearly ten years I had spent in the business world. As a result, our conviction was that God would use us in suburban congregations. The seminary deal was to prepare for one of the foundational pastoral roles that is, being able to teach---
Now the overseer is to be above reproach, faithful to his wife, temperate, self-controlled,
respectable, hospitable, able to teach,3 not given to drunkenness, not violent but gentle,
not quarrelsome, not a lover of money.
1 Timothy 3: 2-3, NIV
Since an overseer manages God’s household, he must be blameless—not overbearing,
not quick-tempered, not given to drunkenness, not violent, not pursuing dishonest
gain.8 Rather, he must be hospitable, one who loves what is good, who is self-
controlled, upright, holy and disciplined.9 He must hold firmly to the trustworthy
message as it has been taught, so that he can encourage others by sound doctrine and
refute those who oppose it.
Titus 1: 7-8, NIV
Of course, each of these qualifications humbled us greatly and required personal adjustments in our family life. But, being able to teach seemed basic and primary. And, in my opinion, this ability had nothing to do with rhetorical skills, gifts of gab, or any other speaking niceties. Being able to teach for me was about Biblical accuracy, sound doctrine, theological preparation. You know, 84 hours of Master of Divinity preparation.
My point? God has a purpose for our lives and we must fulfill that purpose as accurately and completely as possible. In our instance, being "able to teach" meant a life of study and preparation. Fulfilling your life purpose may require some adjustments as well, and some lifetime discipline. Remaining "able to teach" is still among my greatest challenges. But, there is a promise I cling to and offer to you as you seek to discover and fulfill your life purpose---
His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through
the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence---
1 Peter 1: 3, ESV
All things. He gives us all things that pertain to this life and the purpose for which we were created. Even making us able to teach!