Teaching and Being Taught
You then, my child, be strengthened by the grace that is in Christ Jesus, and what you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses entrust to faithful men, who will be able to teach others also. 2 Timothy 2:1-2
When my wife and I first got married, I could barely change a lightbulb. I just wasn’t very handy with projects around the house. It wasn’t that I didn’t have opportunity to learn while growing up. My father is very capable and was willing to teach me, but at the age of 17, I simply wasn’t interested in learning. So, early on in our marriage, I needed help. I went to a neighbor for assistance with one particular project, which blossomed into years of him teaching me how to do stuff. I certainly couldn’t remodel our house now, but I’m far more capable than I was 20 years ago.
A couple years ago I began passing on that knowledge to my own son, who’s interest in working in the shop is far greater than mine. Now, he’s progressed beyond me. If I’d insist on always being the teacher, I’d miss out, as he occasionally must teach me things now. I’ve had to remain humble enough to continue learning, while passing on any knowledge that I’ve gained.
This is the principle of which Paul spoke in today’s passage. In it, he commanded Timothy to pass on the teachings that Paul had given him. As Paul instructed Timothy, he was to instruct others, who were to continue to pass the teachings along. If someone in the chain broke down and failed to carry out his or her part, the transfer would break down.
We’re taught the same in Alcoholics Anonymous. We keep what we have by giving it away. If we’ve found recovery, not only do have some responsibility to share it with others, but we actually maintain our own sobriety by sharing it. Teaching others isn’t optional. It’s part of recovery and if we’ve truly found recovery and desire to remain in it, we must share it.
It’s the same with our faith. If we follow Christ, we must pass along that which he’s given to us. Not everybody wants it. That’s OK. When we find those in need though, we must share the experience, strength, and hope that we’ve found in Christ. This isn’t optional. If we truly have faith, we must give it away. In giving it away, our faith grows, further transforming us. We must be humble enough to continue to learn and we must continually pass on what we’ve learned. We keep what we have by giving it away.