Jill Jarrell Newsome
The Student Will Become Like The Teacher
It was confirmation Sunday and as I watched my nephew go up to the Altar for his prayer of confirmation I felt a lot of emotions. Confirmation in the Christian church is the rite at which a baptized person, especially one baptized as an infant, affirms Christian belief and is admitted as a full member of the Church. I was thankful for my nephew's profession of faith that brought him to this holy moment. I found my mind in the hospital room with my Dad, who could not speak after his stroke. When the doctor told us we needed to say our goodbyes I asked God to bring to mind the things my dad wanted to say to us but couldn't. There were many things that I shared with Dad and one was that I would be a Christian influence on my nieces and nephews. While two of my nieces and nephews were 33 and 27 and Dad had been a big part of their life, my younger niece and nephew were just turning three and five. I knew their salvation and their relationship with God would be the most important thing to Dad!
More important, I, like many of you, have made this same promise to God many times. Any baptism I have been to, I have responded, “With God’s help we will proclaim the good news and live according to the example of Christ. We will surround these persons with a community of love and forgiveness, that they may grow in their service to others. We will pray for them that they may be true disciples who walk in the way that leads to life.” As I blinked back to real time, I saw my nephew kneel at the as the pastors prayed over him, “Nate, the Holy Spirit work within you, that having been born through water and the Spirit, you may live as a faithful disciple of Jesus Christ.” I doubt the confirmands have any idea how special that day in their life is. But they will as their faith grows. I had no idea at that age how thankful I would one day be that I was raised in a Christian home.
The first question the confirmands answered was the profession of faith. “Do you confess Jesus Christ as your Savior, put your whole trust in his grace, and promise to serve him as your Lord, in union with the church which Christ has opened to people of all ages, nations, and races? Their response was, “I do.” As they were welcomed into the household of faith the minister said, “Members of the household of God, I commend these persons to your love and care. Do all in your power to increase their faith, confirm their hope, and perfect them in love.” We have a huge responsibility to the children in our church and in our lives.
Luke 6: 40, "The student is not above the teacher, but everyone who is fully trained will be like their teacher." Luke tells us that the student will become like their teacher. The student will not become what the teacher tells them to do. The student will become like the teacher - who they see that teacher is. Our children will learn the most about faith from watching us on our faith journey. I remember telling Dad if he had never been able to speak he showed me faith and love. The verse prior says, "He also told them this parable: “'Can the blind lead the blind? Will they not both fall into a pit?'" In other words, it would end in tragedy! In Matthew 15, Matthew quotes this parable identifying the Pharisees as the blind guides. In this parable, the blind are the hypocrites who point out others' sin without recognizing their own. Jesus is the greatest teacher. He embodies generosity, forgiveness, grace and mercy. He is our example. Thankfully, our goal is not to be good but be godly. We are to be Christ like, extending grace to others. Like my dad, the passing of our faith will be followed by our example, not our advice.
Paul saw the evidence of the spiritual guidance of a mother and a grandmother. When he revisited Lystra, after five years, Timothy had matured in his faith. In Paul’s last letter to Timothy, Paul mentions the family spiritual environment. 2 Timothy 1: 5, “I am reminded of your sincere faith, which first lived in your grandmother Lois and in your mother Eunice and, I am persuaded, now lives in you also.” Timothy had mimicked his family’s religious experience and was taking ownership of his faith. We are all important in the body of Christ. We all have a purpose and God is equipping us all for present and future ministry. I pray we are the godly people that our "students" are thankful for when they grow up.