Ever have a teachable moment? You know – an opportunity to educate or inform someone of something they didn’t know and given the circumstance they are more open to learning than they might otherwise be? Experts say those are the best opportunities for learning as the receiver is more receptive to what you have to tell them and is in a better mood for listening and remembering what is said. Have you ever been given a teachable moment and totally failed to take advantage of it? In other words you got an F in sharing?
This is often the case with those spiritual teachable moments that come up in our daily lives. When circumstances tee up the perfect opportunity for us to share our faith with someone we totally shank it and miss. We get an F when we could have had an easy A.
Now I’m not saying that we have to work a witnessing opportunity into every single conversation we have with people. But we do need to be open and prepared for those times when we are given the opportunity to share our faith with others in an environment that is already primed for acceptance. Those are the teachable moments.
They don’t always come as monumental events with trumpets and neon signs that say “witness here”. More likely they come as a chance to respond positively to a comment or question made by someone. Such a chance presented itself to me a lot lately. As I’ve mentioned before I listen to Air 1 radio, both in my car and in my office. Now admittedly the selection of stations that comes in inside my box of an office is limited, but I’ve decided to listen to Air 1 during my work day. As you can imagine this gives me no shortage of opportunities to respond to comments from folks as they come into my office and hear a song on the radio. I work with a wide range of people, including some fellow believers and Air 1 listeners so we swap favorite songs or a quick word of encouragement. I also work with some non believers who’s reactions range from an odd look to comments like “you like that Jesus music” or “Your another one that listens to that God rock stuff”, or my favorite “I didn’t think you were a holy roller”, etc.
And that opens the door to a nice teachable moment to respond and talk about why I listen to Air 1 and what it means to me. Let’s be clear that this is not heavy theology sharing or walking the Roman road with anyone (this is work and I am the HR Director). This is me telling my story and responding to their initial comment and giving them some food for thought that can be built on later.
I’ll admit it’s not always easy to respond to folks; particularly those who you know are deliberately trying to find a hot button to push. Sometimes I’ve got something I am in the middle of or I’m on a deadline or rushing to a meeting, etc. And the last thing I really want to do is stop and engage them in conversation. But I do. The majority of the time they respond with more questions or comments and that is where the dialogue can begin.
But it would never begin if I didn’t take that moment presented and engage back with them. There are many reasons why we can sometimes fail to take advantage of a teachable moment. Being in a hurry, preoccupied, even being afraid of their reaction back or not knowing what to say are all reasons for us as Christians to shy away from the opportunity when it presents. But remember what Romans 1:16 says “I’m not ashamed of the Good News. It is God’s power to save everyone who believes, Jews first and Greeks as well.” (GOD’S WORD Translation 1995)
I love that translation because it uses the words “Good News”. Another word for gospel is “good news” or “the glad intelligence”. It’s called that because it is the good news that Christ died for us and our sin is forgiven and we can have eternal salvation. That certainly is some glad intelligence that everyone should have the chance to learn.
Another translation reads “For I have no feeling of shame about the good news, because it is the power of God giving salvation to everyone who has faith,……” (Bible in Basic English) What opportunities have you recently been presented for teachable moments and how did you react? As Christians we are presented many opportunities to share our faith with those we come in contact with, be open and ready for your next teachable moment.
And the words to Jesus Freak by DC Talk run through my head……
“What will people think with they hear that I’m a Jesus freak
What will people do when they find that it’s true
I don’t really care if they label me a Jesus freak
There ain’t no disguising the truth.”