‘What do these stones mean?’ Joshua 4:21 NIV
One of the most effective ways to teach is through ‘teaching moments’. Jesus did that. When a fig tree didn’t produce fruit, He cursed it and it immediately withered up. That got the disciples’ attention (see Matthew 21:18–22). Then He explained that unless you stay filled with God’s Spirit, you won’t be fruitful in His service.
He could have taught this same lesson in the synagogue. But then His listeners would’ve had to imagine a fig tree, and the message would have been diluted depending on the ability of the hearer. When three drunken high-school students crashed their car into a tree, the wreck sat in front of their school for several days. Every day the students had to look at it. That’s called a ‘high-impact teaching moment’.
It’s said timing is everything. That’s certainly true when it comes to learning the important lessons in life, so don’t miss them! If you’re a parent, it’s futile to constantly ‘preach’ at your kids. If you’re a leader, it’s a mistake to keep ‘lecturing’ the people who are answerable to you. Let the experience speak! Then ask for their thoughts, and listen without interjecting! People learn more through discovery than dialogue. That’s why God instructed Joshua to build a monument of twelve stones on the other side of Jordan after He miraculously parted its waters so they could cross over (see Joshua 4:1–9). What He was really saying was, ‘When your children ask what this monument is all about, use it as a teaching moment about My love and faithfulness.’
So look for the teaching moments in life—and use them.
SoulFood: 1 Chr 12:23–15:29, John 9:1–12, Ps 68, Pro 25:21–22
The Word for Today is authored by Bob and Debby Gass and published under licence from UCB International Copyright [cy]