Monday, March 19, 2012

Teaching after the Manner of the Spirit

This entry is part of my general conference application series.

Teaching after the Manner of the Spirit, by Matthew O. Richardson
Second Counselor in the Sunday School General Presidency

Toward the beginning of my mission, a common instructional phrase among missionaries was to "use the Spirit" as we taught, went tracting, and lived our Christ-centered missionary lives. This phrase was used so often that it lost almost all of its meaning.

Some time later, this all changed. I don't remember when it happened, or who said it, but in a missionary meeting somewhere I heard, "The Spirit—the Holy Ghost—is the third member of the Godhead. You don't use the Spirit; the Spirit uses you!"

Almost immediately the charge to "use the Spirit" disappeared and it, at least personally, was replaced with a feeling similar to what Alma shared as his glory (see Alma 29:9):

I know that which the Lord hath commanded me, and I glory in it. I do not glory of myself, but I glory in that which the Lord hath commanded me; yea, and this is my glory, that perhaps I may be an instrument in the hands of God to bring some soul to repentance; and this is my joy.

I'm sure we were trying to be instruments in the Lord's hands before the shift in phraseology, but I personally felt like a better teacher when I imagined that I was teaching "by the Spirit," and not "using" the Spirit to do what I wanted to do.

Brother Richardson reminded me of this when he taught:

Every family member, Church leader, and Church member (including the youth and children) has a responsibility to . . . teach "by the spirit." They should not teach "in front of the Spirit" or "behind the Spirit" but "by the Spirit" so the Spirit can teach the truth unrestrained.

I enjoyed the reminder of the role I have as teacher, not just in the classroom, but at home, at work, and everywhere I go. And I also liked the reminder that my children are teachers, too! They really are helping me learn to love, be sincere, and put off chores every once in a while to have great fun together!

0 thoughts