Hebrews 5:11-14 is a very interesting passage:
“We have much to say about this, but it is hard to explain because you are slow to learn. In fact, though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you the elementary truths of God's word all over again. You need milk, not solid food! Anyone who lives on milk, being still an infant, is not acquainted with the teaching about righteousness. But solid food is for the mature, who by constant use have trained themselves to distinguish good from evil.”
Over my years in ministry, I’ve heard any number of people say, “I’m not a teacher” – generally in response to my attempts to recruit them:) Perhaps they’re saying that they don’t have the spiritual gift of teaching, which could certainly be correct. Perhaps they’re saying that being up front scares them to death, which is understandable. Perhaps they’re saying that they’re not spiritually mature enough, which could certainly be the case.
However, this passage is quite clear – as we spiritually mature – we ought to become teachers. We are not to just be at the receiving part of the faith, but are to become “senders” as well.
Listen to the inspired author’s frustration here. He wanted to teach the readers deeper truths of the faith – but they had remained spiritually immature by not living what they’d been taught – so they needed “milk” (basic truths) all over again. Choosing immaturity hurt their walk with the Lord, and kept them from reaching out to others (and teaching) as they should.
Don’t hear me (or the author of Hebrews) wrongly here – he is not saying that each spiritually mature believer has great oratorical skills, or can be a superstar up front. Rather, he is saying that each godly man and woman can communicate spiritual truths to others, and the body will grow accordingly (see Ephesians 4: 15-16). “Teaching” need not be formal – it can be the right word in the right situation – it can be investing yourself in another’s life to help them grow – it can be training someone spiritually by doing ministry with them.
Frankly, we need to face facts – our lives teach anyway – people generally know we’re believers and watch us – we might as well be living for the Lord and impacting them positively!
And some of you could teach a Sunday School class or facilitate a small group – don’t let fear or false humility stop you – I’ll be happy to come alongside and help.
(More of you are leaders than you think as well…but that’s probably a subject for another article.)