I am I a great teacher? I often ask myself this question, but at the same time, I need to ask myself why I am asking myself this question? That is to say, why do I want to be a great teacher in the first place?
Do I wish to be a great teacher so I can get one of the exceedingly rare and highly-coveted jobs at one of the few seminaries in the US teaching and training an increasingly shrinking clientele base of North American evangelicals and who increasingly cater to that blessed and growing cadre of saints who are now coming more and more from the global south and east?
And do I want such a job so I will no longer have to live on the other side of the planet from the rest of my family and continue to struggle to find my way in a strange and foreign land? Am I tired of laboring through the sometimes humiliating and difficult—and yet exciting and rewarding—process of trusting God to raise the support that we need and regularly stay in touch with and remain accountable to supporters, family, and friends?
Or perhaps I desired the imagined the comforts of sitting in an beautifully decorated office, or lounging out on the well-kept greening lawn, or eating in the newly renovated cafeteria with a well-brewed cup of tea, arguing—ahem, I mean discussing—and talking with my brilliant colleagues about God, theology, ethics, and the latest political scandal—rather than having to cry out constantly to God for a more fervent faith, a deeper understanding, and a greater grace?
Or is my desire even baser and more sinister (if that is even possible) than all of these? Do I want to be a great teacher because I have some deep and idolatrous inner need to be impressive, loved, admired, famous, desired, and sought after? Alas, it may be a despicable and twisted concoction of all of the above.
If there is any hint of such desires in my heart, I repent, Lord, and ask You to cleanse me once again of such lurid longings to be comfortable, to be “respected,” to be great in my eyes or in the eyes of others. Transform my desire to be a great teacher into a desire to ever more clearly and consistently reveal and bring You glory. Make it so that if people seek out my teaching it is only because in seeking it, they find they are both seeking and finding You, and You alone, for You must increase, but I must decrease.