I’ve recently had the opportunity to teach a “teacher preparation” class at church, and although I’ve enjoyed it, I’ve also found it to be a bit stressful. Teach future teachers about how to teach? Please. It’s a little discomfiting to be the sage on stage when in my heart, I know there are others who could do a far better job. Hmmm. Maybe that’s why the Bishop asked me to do it; he wanted me to learn more, to improve my teaching skills, and to gain a better grasp of gospel principles.
That said, today the assignment was for everyone to choose a gospel topic and outline just how he or she would teach it. Would the teacher use music and lecture? Lecture with a combination of discussion, questions, and stories? How about the use of pictures and object lessons? Excitedly, I went to class only to discover that only one person of the class had come to church and hence to class. Still, we persevered, and Kathy did an excellent job of telling about King Benjamin and his comments to his people. She asked questions, directed my attention to a picture of King Benjamin in the tower, read scriptures, and generated a discussion between the two of us. She did a superlative job, and her future students are in for a treat.
On the outside chance that folks showed up unprepared, I decided to follow the homework instructions for myself. Faith was the topic I chose, and I looked it up in the Bible dictionary, read several scriptures about it, found a modern day story about it, and brought some sunflower seeds posing as mustard seeds. Kathy’s presentation was so good that I didn’t get to any of my “stuff,” but since I came across such great material, I’d like to share some food for thought.
I could write about Christ’s remark to the frightened disciples about their being of little faith or of his statement to the woman who had touched his robe: “Thy faith hath made thee whole; go in peace.” There are dozens of such stories. What grabbed me most, however, is a statement by Talmadge in Jesus the Christ: “Faith is of itself a principle of power; and by its presence or absence, by its fullness or paucity, even the Lord was and is influenced.” Isn’t that potent?
Is there something you want or need? Is there something you’ve been praying for, something that you’d like to have happen in your life? Are you fervently praying for it AND doing the things that would make that dream more of a reality? If so, do you truly believe that your Heavenly Father will help you find that job, complete that course, sell that house, heal your loved one, ease your pain, or give you confidence?
Active faith must take the place of passive belief on the part of would-be recipients if we are to receive our Father’s richest blessings. It’s foolish to say something like, “I have faith that I’m going to do well in the course,” and then watch football all afternoon instead of studying. It’s crazy to have faith that God is going to heal you from an infirmity if you fail to seek or follow medical advice. It’s foolhardy to pray that your children will stay on the straight and narrow if you’re serving as a sorry example of what that means. It’s senseless to ask your Creator to help you handle stress when you continue saying, “Yes,” to every request made of you even when you know you’re already overscheduled and overburdened.
I just remembered a quote by Joan of Arc that fits perfectly here at the end: “Act, and God will act.” If you don’t act, why should you expect Him to?