The call to teach is a gift from the Lord (1 Corinthians 12:8), and the Bible proclaims in 1 Timothy 4:14a to â€œneglect not the gift that is in theeâ€ (King James Version). This can specifically refer to teaching, and the Lord makes known that â€œthe gifts and calling of God are without repentanceâ€ (Romans 11:29 KJV). This paper seeks to describe teaching as a divine calling and investigates how a person can identify and carry out this calling. Furthermore, this paper recognizes ways that teaching can be employed as a service to the Lord. Explanations about how teaching impacts others and the responsibilities partnered with teaching are addressed. Also, the impact of Jesus Christ, as well as Paulo Freire (2000), are compared and contrasted in regard to teaching philosophies, parables, learners, and integration. Prayer, different ways that teaching is utilized, and the impact of teaching children are also examined, as well as the effect of academia on the teaching profession. Lastly, Christian integration is included throughout the paper to yield a Christian worldview perspective about the divine call to teach.
The call to teach is a gift from the Lord (1 Corinthians 12:8), and the Bible proclaims in 1 Timothy 4:14a to “neglect not the gift that is in thee” (King James Version). This can specifically refer to teaching, and the Lord makes known that “the gifts and calling of God are without repentance” (Romans 11:29 KJV). This paper seeks to describe teaching as a divine calling and investigates how a person can identify and carry out this calling. Furthermore, this paper recognizes ways that teaching can be employed as a service to the Lord. Explanations about how teaching impacts others and the responsibilities partnered with teaching are addressed. Also, the impact of Jesus Christ, as well as Paulo Freire (2000), are compared and contrasted in regard to teaching philosophies, parables, learners, and integration. Prayer, different ways that teaching is utilized, and the impact of teaching children are also examined, as well as the effect of academia on the teaching profession. Lastly, Christian integration is included throughout the paper to yield a Christian worldview perspective about the divine call to teach.
The Divine Call to Teach
The Lord places a divine calling on every person’s life, and those who search the Lord with all their heart will recognize the quiet beckoning and calling of the Holy Spirit. This is supported by Jeremiah 29:13 which proclaims, “And ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart” (King James Version). For some people, this calling is teaching; however, the decision to follow this calling should be accompanied by prayer, discernment, and caution. The reason careful consideration is important regarding teaching, is that teachers are held more accountable by the Lord compared to those who do not teach. In fact, James 3:1b states “you know that we who teach will be judged more strictly” (KJV). The purpose of this paper is to recognize the reasons teaching is a divine calling, how this calling can be recognized, and ways that teaching can be utilized to serve the Lord.
Reasons for the Divine Calling
Teaching is a divine calling due to the impact teaching has on the livelihood of others. A person’s entire life can be impacted by the instruction of one teacher. For instance, consider the number of lives Jesus Christ impacted throughout his public teachings on earth and his proclamation to “teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost” (Matthew 28:19b KJV). Christ’s teachings impacted his disciples (Matthew 4:17-25), as well as crowds he ministered to on a consistent basis (Matthew 5:1 and Matthew 11:1), due to the wisdom contained in his parables (Matthew 5:1). For example, while teaching others he healed Peter’s mother-in-law (Matthew 8:14-15) and the centurion’s servant (Matthew 8:5-13), and people witnessed and learned from these “teachings.”
Comparatively, Paulo Freire (2000) recognizes the value and magnitude of teaching in his book entitled Pedagogy of the Oppressed (2011); however, he does not mention the name of Christ in his book. Nevertheless, Freire (2000) proclaims that teaching should be infused with justice and equality. Freire (2000) also explains that when people – particularly the oppressed – are deprived of this infusion and are instead lectured with discrimination, indifference, and disparity the lasting impact can be long-suffering persecution.
Based on this premise, Freire (2000) and Jesus Christ both recognize that teaching has an undeniable impact on the lives of others; however, each identifies different aspects about the divine calling of teaching. Freire (2000) yearns for justice, whereas Jesus Christ yearns for salvation in Him as the Son of God. Also important to acknowledge is that both Freire and Jesus Christ hold a desire to help the less fortunate (Freire, 2000 and Mathew 6:20), which they proclaim is a fundamental element of instruction.
Proverbs 3:26 asserts the significance of teaching and instruction. According to this verse, a learner should “take fast hold of instruction; let her not go: Keep her; for she is thy life” (KJV). Other verses provide that the choice to not follow instruction can cause struggles across life (Proverbs 5:12-14); however, the bible also teaches that the heart must adhere to instruction in order to flourish (Proverbs 23:12). Furthermore, 2 Timothy 4:16 expresses the importance of utilizing the Bible as a fundamental source of instruction, and states that solid, Biblical instruction produces honesty, virtue, justice, and morality (2 Timothy 4:16). Each of these verses cites the marvelous and divine attributes of teaching.
Nonetheless, not everyone can teach. This is because teaching takes will-power, time, dialogue, and aptitude (Vella, 2002). God searches for a willing heart to follow His will, and this is proclaimed in 1 Chronicles 28:9b: “Serve him with a perfect heart and with a willing mind.” 1 Chronicles 28:9d goes on to state “if thou seek him, he will be found of thee” (KJV). Therefore, someone must not only be willing but have a gift for teaching. 1 Corinthians 7:7c provides that God bestows a special gift to every person (1 Corinthians 7:7c), one of which is the gift to teach. For these reasons, the gift of teaching is a divine calling.
Recognition of the Divine Call to Teach
The call to teach is recognized as a special gift – as alluded to previously – since the Lord provides a gift to every human. In fact, 1 Corinthians 12:8a states “For to one is given by the Spirit the word of wisdom” (KJV), and wisdom is directly associated with instruction and teaching. Furthermore, God gives gifts to each human being for a reason, and a person’s gifts should be employed; nevertheless, disagreements exist regarding the application of a gift, such as teaching. For example, should scholarship and the belief in Jesus Christ be integrated, or can someone utilize a gift and not integrate Christianity (Jacobsen & Jacobsen 2004)? Moreover, should someone with the gift of teaching integrate Christianity or can a gift for teaching be separate from Christianity? Therefore, is the divine call to teach recognized through integration or as an academic calling generated by the Holy Spirit, yet separate from the Holy Spirit?
According to Freire (2000) in his book entitled Pedagogy of the Oppressed (2011), teaching can occur without the integration of Christianity. This supposition is based on him not mentioning the inclusion of Christianity in his teaching philosophies; nevertheless, his teaching principles encapsulate Christian values. This is because he focuses on teaching as a means of helping people who are oppressed, dehumanized, and struggling to instead transform and become courageous, independent, and fearless. Comparatively, the Bible teaches humans to “be courageous, and be valiant” (KJV 2 Samuel 13:28b). These principles addressed are some key ways that a call to teaching can be recognized, and this is because someone desiring to teach is motivated to help and to better the lives of others (Svinicki & McKeachie, 2010; Freire, 2000).
Freire (2000) also supports that anyone in a lower socioeconomic class should be given the same opportunities as those who are not oppressed or who are the oppressors. Jesus Christ taught comparatively throughout the Bible, to include the Biblical books Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. These books outline the story of the Messiah, Jesus Christ, who did not gather material wealth as God incarnate, and his ministry and teachings instead focused on the poor, burdened, and beleaguered. This captures yet another way that a calling to teach is recognized: A teacher is more interested in the character and joy of others than the mundane and temporal commodities of the world.
A calling to teach can also be acknowledged through prayer. Prayer is especially imperative, and 1 Thessalonians 5:17 states, “Pray without ceasing” (KJV). When a person is devoted to prayer for the purpose of following the Lord’s will, God answers. God simply states, “Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you” (Matthew 7:7 KJV). Therefore, if God places the desire to teach on someone’s heart (Psalm 145:16), and that person then communicates to the Lord the desire to teach, God will surely answer according to His will and purpose. God’s will is paramount, and this is expressed in Acts 21:14b which states, “The will of the Lord be done” (KJV). This means that if a person desires to teach, God’s will see this to fruition. Moreover, this is another way that a calling to teach can be identified.
Teaching to Serve the Lord
Once the desire to teach is established, teaching can be used to serve the Lord. This is especially true since teaching is a gift from the Lord, and the Lord bestows gifts to each person for His glory; however, the approach by which someone chooses to use teaching as a service to the Lord can vary. For example, people can use teaching in such arenas as the elementary classroom, church, prison, home, Sunday school, mission field, university, family, and work. In each of these settings teaching can be used to glorify God, and Christians can be recognized specifically by the fruits of their actions, which in this case consist of teaching. Additionally, this can mean that a Christian can be identified with or without specifically mentioning the name of Christ while teaching (Jacobsen & Jacobsen, 2004).
The approach a person takes in teaching can also be used to serve the Lord. For example, a person can utilize the gift of wisdom (1 Corinthians 12:8) to be an incredibly knowledgeable and academically astute teacher. This can be accomplished when the teacher studies different teaching tactics and is learnt about such constituents as testing, dialogue, lectures, technological integration in the classroom, experiential learning, cultural multiplicity, grading, and inspiration (Svinicki & McKeachie, 2010). Additional teaching techniques that can be ascertained include responsibility, appreciation for students, sensitivity, collaboration, security, as well as contemplation (Vella, 2002). This knowledge can help a teacher to better serve the students. Also, if the teacher chooses, this can be done in the name of the Lord.
Without a doubt, the teacher can positively impact the classroom with this academic expertise and erudition (Svinicki & McKeachie, 2010), which when applied according to the Lord’s will is wisdom (1 Chronicles 28:9). The Bible supports the acquisition of wisdom in Proverbs 4:7 which states, “Wisdom is the principle thing; therefore get wisdom” (KJV); however, the Bible does not state that when wisdom is obtained and appropriately taught (Proverbs 11:30), that the Lord’s name must be uttered in all academic pursuits.
Another way that teaching can be used to serve the Lord is through educating children. To the Lord, children are particularly special. In fact, Romans 8:17 provides “And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ” (KJV). This also means that a teacher who instructs children has an incredible responsibility, especially since children are considered royalty according to this scripture (Romans 8:17). In fact, Christ proclaims that heaven belongs to children (Mark 10:14). Therefore, for a teacher to instruct children, who are royalty and whom heaven belongs to, then this must be considered a notable service to the Lord.
The thorough evidence provided throughout this paper undeniably supports that the Lord places a divine calling, one of which is teaching, on every person’s life. From the Christian worldview, a person can recognize the divine call to teach by acknowledging the gift of teaching, bringing this desire before the Lord, following the Lord’s will regarding a desire to teach, and understanding the many ways that teaching is an act of service to the Lord. Prayer should encompass this entire decision making process. The divine call to teach is examined throughout this paper, and the many facets of teaching focused on the Lord’s will are assessed through scripture and the realms of academic scholarship.
Freire, P. (2000). Pedagogy of the oppressed (30th ed.). New York, NY: Continuum International Publishing Group.
Jacobsen, D., & Jacobsen, R. (2004). Scholarship and christian faith: Enlarging the conversation. New York, NY: Oxford University Press.
McKeachie, W., & Svinicki, M. (2010). McKeachie’s teaching tips: Strategies, research, and theory for college and university teachers (13th ed.). Boston, MA: Houghton Mifflin Company.
Vella, J. (2002). Learning to listen, learning to teach: The power of dialogue in teaching adults (2nd ed.). San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.