Last week, in my post “Teaching Workshop: The Motivations for Teaching,” I explained that last Sunday I continued leading the church through a discussion of the concept of teaching in Scripture. The “workshop” will continue over the next few weeks, but that second week’s topic was “The Motivations for Teaching.”
In this post, I’m going to offer a few reflections from our time discussing that topic. I was not trying to stuff information into people’s heads. Instead, I was simply leading people through passages of Scripture and asking questions. So, these reflections are not based on things that I taught. Instead, what I’m sharing here came from other people. (In most cases, I’m summarizing and paraphrasing, since I did not record our discussion.)
I’ll share these reflections within the outline (in a summarized form) that I used to guide our workshop:
(From the beginning, we talked about how these motivations are not specifically related to teaching, but are also related to any response that we should have toward God and others.)
I. Love for God
Scripture: Matthew 22:37 – and parallel passages; John 21:15-17
II. Submission/Obedience to God
Scripture: John 14:15; Acts 5:29-32; 1 John 5:2
III. Honor/Glorify/Worship God
Scripture: 1 Corinthians 10:31; Colossians 3:16-17; 1 Peter 4:10-11
While it can be beneficial to think about the different aspects of our motivations related to God, in reality, loving God, submitting to God, and honoring/glorifying/worshiping God are all interrelated.
These are all heart responses to God. Our actions should always follow our heart. If our heart is not right, then our actions will not be carried out from the proper motives. However, it is possible for God to change our heart as we are submitting to him through our actions. Still, our goal should be heart change (for ourselves as well as for others), which means we always have to rely on God to do the work (again, in ourselves as well as in others).
IV. Love for Others
Scripture: Galatians 5:13-14; 1 John 4:20-21
V. Desire to Benefit Others
Scripture: 1 Corinthians 12:4-7; Acts 20:20
VI. Desire to Disciple Others
Scripture: Matthew 28:19-20; Ephesians 4:11-13, 16)
VII. Desire to Build Up Others
Scripture: Romans 1:11-12; 1 Corinthians 14:26; Hebrews 10:24-25
Again, all of these motivations are interrelated, and they are even related to the previous motivations (loving/obeying/honoring God). As we know, we cannot love others if we don’t love God, and if we’re not loving others then we are not loving God (even if we think we are).
If we are not teaching, serving, whatever others, then we are harming the entire church, not just ourselves.
There are “false” motivations – “false” in the sense that they are not motivations from a heart that is right with God. These “false” motivations tend to cause us to do certain things in order to earn God’s favor or people’s favor.
To me, the best part of our discussion came after we talked about these different motivations for teaching (or others responses to God). We discussed the following question: if we find that we are not motivated to teach others, then what should we do? This was the most beneficial and challenging part of our discussion.
How would you answer that question?