James 3:1- Not many of you should become teachers, my brothers, for you know that we who teach will be judged with greater strictness.
Becoming a teacher of God’s word is a wonderful ambition. God desires that all Christians know and understand His word so well that in every moment they are ready to teach. It is a good work with great rewards at the end. However, it is one that comes with some very serious responsibilities.
As James warns in the third chapter of his book, we will be judged with greater strictness. This is a two-fold warning. First off, the world will judge us more harshly. We will live in a fish bowl and all our actions will be nick-picked and monitored night and day. As people who proclaim God’s word, we are doubly expected to live it ourselves. If we fail in this regard, our opponents will quickly snatch this up and we will lose our influence and our ability to reach souls will be lost.
Second, I believe God Himself will expect more from us. While the standard by which we are judged does not change, the fact that we are taking other people’s souls into our hands. Teachers are responsible for how a person perceives and understands God. If we fail, especially when we do it knowingly, God will hold us responsible for the loss of that soul.
James 3 brings out these two warnings, but there is one more that every prospecting teacher needs to be aware of. As mentioned above we are in the spotlight much more often then other Christians. We are often the ones who make a vocal stand against sin and those who practice it. When the world sees this, they will retaliate, often in a harsh and harmful way. In these moments, we may be alone in a physical sense. Men will not always be by our side and we have to face the dangers of the world alone. If we cannot handle such a scenario, we have no business being a Christian, let alone a teacher of God’s word.
These are the top three warnings every man of God needs to take into consideration when thinking about teaching. We can be a great influence for the gospel or we can wind up hindering its work. If we cannot live the life of a Christian, we have no business being a teacher and if we are like the stony ground and buckle under persecution it is not the life for us. However, if despite this we still desire to be teachers then by all means go for it, the Lord needs you. As a final word of encouragement, remember that God will be with you, wherever you go!