September 6

Isaiah 50:4-9a

“The Lord God has given me the tongue of a teacher, that I may know how to sustain the weary with a word. Morning by morning he wakens— wakens my ear to listen as those who are taught.” vs. 4

The prophet knew that he had a gift for teaching, one that he hadn’t sought, but that had come from God. His audience was the exiled community of Israel, and they were getting discouraged as they waited out their time in Babylon. And somehow he was able to find images and stories that they could identify with, and in those words they found hope. Such teachers continue to be a gift in our communities of faith–and we are drawn to their words. They don’t rely on theological jargon or “canned” sermons plucked from the internet–they make connections more subtly, with stories that come alive with the telling. And as we listen we hear words of grace and hope that fill our hearts. Where do they develop their skills? The prophet tells us that his giftedness came through careful listening, both to God and to those he was teaching. And so it continues to be. Our best teachers will also be the best listeners–it’s how they learn what people are hungry for. Listening is a gift that most of us could learn to practice–knowledge never ever comes to us while we’re talking. In fact, the more we talk, the less we’re able to learn. Thank God for those who have practiced keeping their mouths shut! It’s through them that we learn the secrets of the universe.

Thought for the Day: Who is my teacher these days?

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