Monday, February 6, 2017

Educator or Communicator?

"Educators take something simple and make it complicated. Communicators take something complicated and make it simple."  (John C. Maxwell) 

In which "camp" do you see yourself - as an educator or as a communicator? I grew up in the sixties and seventies, receiving most of schooling before the age of "common core" education dawned on the scene. Honestly, I think it is quite possible educators may have taken "simple math" and made it a whole lot harder than it needs to be!  My grandsons come home from school trying to figure out some problem today and I have to read a journal of articles on the internet to figure out why adding two numbers requires you splitting them apart, adding up their numbers separately, and reaching the same answer I always got when I learned to add the "old way". I have even met some educators today who say the new "common core" has made things way more complicated than they need to be, but they cannot veer from the curriculum because it is "what needs to be taught" per school standards. Sometimes what has become "common" to many remains a little less than understandable to most!

27 “My Father has entrusted everything to me. No one truly knows the Son except the Father, and no one truly knows the Father except the Son and those to whom the Son chooses to reveal him.” 28 Then Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light.” (Matthew 11:17-30 NLT)

Jesus didn't make the gospel message complicated - he was a communicator of truth - first in his life, then in his words. We'd do well to remember his example! The "simplicity" of the gospel is often what trips people up, though. I think they want to make relationship with Jesus so complicated that they turn it into a religion and then they lose sight of what the true focus is to be in the first place! As Jesus said - to know God, we get to know Jesus - because he is the one who has actually seen God the Father and he reveals all there is to know about him to us. Jesus invites us into his rest - herein we find him waiting to teach us - not to dictate our lives, but to turn us toward right choices and in turn, a heart that truly understands and knows rest.

By definition, we might think of a burden as something that is carried, but it is also a responsibility that one has to fulfill something. In entering into relationship with Jesus, he takes upon himself the "burden" (that which has been carried by us) of our sin. In turn, he gives us the "responsibility" of obedience - of learning how it is we make right choices and allow those choices to influence our actions. He doesn't do this through the keeping of religious rituals such as regular church attendance, giving into the offering, volunteering at the local food bank, or helping out the old lady next door with her household chores. All of these are worthy expressions of what many will do when they are in right relationship with Jesus, but when we think these "duties" will get us into right relationship with God, they are a burden we weren't designed to carry! 

As my pastor so frequently says, religion is all about us working our way to God; relationship is all about God working his way to us through his Son, Jesus. We make it way more complicated than it needs to be - making it harder and harder for some to actually meet, know, and follow Jesus. The path to "finding God" isn't so much about us "doing", it is about what God has already done! He has cleared that path through the blood of Jesus shed on Calvary's hill so long ago. Plain and simple - it isn't that we "do", it is that we "rest". We don't need to complicate relationship with Jesus - it really is quite a beautifully simple thing. We say "yes" to him, he takes upon himself the "burden" of our sin. The penalty owed for such a heavy burden has already been paid at the cross. There is now no condemning force that can accuse us of our "unworthy" state any longer. In Christ, we are new creations - all sense of unworthiness is left at the cross. 

Plain and simple - we don't need new educators of religion. We need new communicators of truth! Just sayin!

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