My thoughts (Brenda Corbello):
I have often felt called to teach. That does not mean that I want to be a “teacher” in the traditional sense of the word. There is no way I am patient enough for that. But I hear loud and clear the calling to “instruct them in the practice of all that I have commanded you.” Because I have such a loving and supportive spiritual relationship with God, I often feel compelled to share just how I got it, and how I try to keep it. I believe we are all called to do this in some respect.
But as we all know, when it comes to actually doing it, people can be so complicated. When I meet someone, they arrive with all the baggage that comes with the things that have happened to them, lots of which I never dreamed existed. I am constantly surprised at the things that people have been through. These experiences mold how they perceive things and how they feel about them. I believe that we cannot be too cautious in this respect when we begin to share something as powerful as how to develop a spiritual life. I have not found the “you should do this; you should not do that” approach very successful in teaching about spiritual matters.
Ironically, although many people have experienced so much more, they can actually be less spiritually mature than they think. However, that does not discredit the fact that they still bring a unique perspective to the situation, and that I can learn a lot from them as well. I need to remember this when I am sharing. I need to communicate to them that I acknowledge their perspective, and that I appreciate what they can teach me. I have found that people tend to open up quicker when they feel that what they have to give is acknowledged and appreciated.
My attitude is also of critical importance. I have discovered that many people are not nearly as concerned with the what I am actually saying as they are with how I am saying it. They are more concerned with my attitude than any answers I might give them. I heard a saying once that really hit home with me. “People do not care how much you know, until they know how much you care.” Taking that to heart has made all the difference in the world for me.
I may have a certain amount of knowledge from studying books and I may have had many experiences that have helped me grow, but, when it comes to how people receive the information, I am totally at their mercy. Regardless of how good or important the subject matter is, if no one is listening, then no one is learning.
Thought for the day: God, help me remember that, although I am called to teach, I am first called to love. Let me share my message with kindness, humility, and sincerity.
We encourage you to include a time of prayer with this reading. If you need a place to get started, consider the guidelines on the How to Pray page.