Exodus 4:12 – Now therefore go, and I will be with your mouth and will teach you what you shall say

This week I’m reflecting on a parallel between

  • The ‘success/results’ of my French students whom I teach with an acquisition/input based (non-text book) method
  • and the ‘success/results’ of those with whom I tell the Good News about what Jesus has done

Last Friday as I was reading one particular French 2 student’s homework story I was impressed with her level of writing.  Granted, she is bright and highly motivated.  But the system I use to teach French to her and others is so powerful, that even if I’m not super skilled at it, learners will achieve.  Here was more evidence that the results have little to do with my skill as a teacher, but with the method!  So why the stress?

My husband Mike and I were walking on Saturday, and I was sharing with him how pleased I was at this girl’s ability and how it is due to this fantastic way of teaching foreign languages.  He reminded me that I ‘angst’ all the time about being ‘good enough/ skilled enough’ with the method and that I need NOT play that anxious game anymore.  All of a sudden, I saw the application to my anxiety about sharing the Gospel.  If I truly believe that the power of God is in the Gospel, then why should I worry about ‘doing it’ right?  It’s not all up to me.  Just like teaching French via this input method is not all up to me.  The method works. I just have to use it and trust it.

This is exciting; because the immediate implication is that I don’t have to be PERFECT.  I just have to be willing to DO it.  I’m ashamed to say that often pride gets in the way of this truth and I WANT to do it well. Here’s what happens:

I am a blog-lurker.  I read blogs every day whose content is either Christianity (doctrine, practice, defending/ presenting the faith) or French (content, culture, current events, methodology).  Many days I come away feeling inadequate, that I’m not as good as other Christians or other language teachers who use the method of TPRS® (teaching proficiency through reading & storytelling). Yet I should know better about my profession because at the summer conferences I attend, one of the mantras is:  “Poor TPRS is better than NO TPRS”

To be logical I should tell myself, “Exalting Jesus in some way is better than keeping my mouth shut”.  So why don’t I exalt Jesus every day?”  The truth is, I can get away with not opening my mouth about Jesus.  I’m paid and held accountable for teaching French each day.  There are immediate consequences if I simply conduct a study hall in each class, day after day.  What are the consequences if I don’t open my mouth about Jesus?

I don’t have to list them for you…they are actually far more serious.  So why am I reluctant?  Expectations!  My school kids expect me to teach them French.  What is the expectation of those people whose paths I cross each day?  Well, I actually don’t know.  Who’s not to say that they were prepared by God to meet someone who would tell them some good news?   After all, there is precedence in the Bible.  Cornelius (Acts 10) was told by an angel in a vision to send a message to Peter.  Likewise Peter while praying was prompted to let go of certain food rituals.  These two unlikely people met (because they were obedient) and it made a HUGE difference in their lives and in the Kingdom.

In conclusion….pray that you and I be obedient to God’s commands. As ordinary Christians, our daily duty falls SOMEWHERE between these two expectations:

  • Matt 28:18-20 And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”
  • 1 Pet 3:15  But in your hearts set Christ apart as holy as Lord. Always be ready to give a logical defense to anyone who asks you to account for the hope that is in you, but do it courteously and respectfully.