Saturday, November 19, 2011

Learning in groups of one ~ or more

"Jesus said to her, 
'The water I give is a fountain of water 
springing up to eternal life' "
John 4:14

I had a terrible thought recently.  Did you ever think something, and then a moment later, you're aghast at yourself?  "Where did that come from?? How could I think that??"  I know better than what I thought, and it's not even something I believe.

A friend of mine is a teacher for the weekly Bible Study I'm in, that includes a Spanish language group.   This is the first year that a Spanish group is offered, so the group is still small.  Most weeks, it consists of just three women.  Several days ago, the bilingual woman who leads that group was sick, and my friend was unsure of what to do.  My friend is not bilingual, and although there is a substitute, she was not able to make it on short notice.   I was talking to my friend about what the options were:  let them sit in with an English group, and do the best they can; or let them go through the study by themselves, without a leader.

And that's when I thought it.  The thought.  The thought I had no business thinking.  I thought, "This group seems like a lot of trouble to teach just three women."

And then immediately, I thought of Jesus.  I thought of this passage in John, where Jesus met a Samaritan woman at a well, and changed her life.  He talked to her about the living water, and eternal life.  He taught her.  And she was in a class by herself.

I've always loved this passage because it reminds me that Jesus didn't need a big audience.  Most of the time, His class consisted of twelve men ~ only eleven of whom were really listening, apparently... I taught children in Bible Study for five years, sometimes to very small classes, and I never minded it a bit.  I never felt it was too much trouble, or a waste of my time.  Never once.  I enjoyed it thoroughly.  I loved the challenge of reaching children, and the reward of their response to learning the Bible.  And I believe that a group of one or two is just as deserving of energetic, devoted teaching, as a conference of 5000 is.

So where did that thought come from?  I don't know.  It's so far from what I believe, I kinda don't think it originated with me.  And it sure as heck didn't come from God, so that only leaves one option.  And maybe God allowed that thought to enter my head, to engender exactly the response it did.  A little shame, and a renewed belief in the value of teaching God's word ~ to one, or to many.   I'm thrilled that these women have a chance to study the Bible together in their language, and I think the fact that there's just a few of them probably makes for some great discussions ~ sort of like the great discussion that Jesus had with the Samaritan woman at the well.

We are limiting God if we think He can't do big things in a big way.  But we're also limiting Him if we think He can't do big things in a small way.  We need to be ready for either one.

~ "He shall teach in the way He chooses" ~
Psalm 25:12

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