Can I Do Better This Time?

Lake Amatitlan

Once before I passed this way as a teacher, trying to help others learn of Jesus Christ. I had the enthusiasm and energy of youth. I had surety—confidence not yet tempered by experience and maturity.

I wish I had known then what almost 50 years of experience and testing have taught. I could have been much more effective at sharing, not simply instructing.

In youth I came here knowing that I had truth to teach and that it would better the lives of all who would listen. How confidently I taught it to people older than I, who had faced much more of trial in life! Still, it was truth, and it blessed many lives.

Now I have truth to share, reinforced by experience and trial of my own. And I have learned that sharing has as much to do with listening as it does with proffering knowledge.

Many of the people I will meet may have much to share with me about being a true disciple of the Master.

As I pass this way again, I hope to:

• Listen more. Let me learn of their needs, their trials, their hopes, and their triumphs.

• Care more. May I learn more of true empathy. If I feel more of their fears or pain, perhaps I will know better how to help them.

• Give more. Let me give more of love and strength and experience, not knowledge alone.

There is an older man who comes to meetings whose hands are scrape-the-skin-off rough and calloused—the hands of a long-time laborer. He smells of the wood fires that many people here use for cooking in the home. His clothes are worn, but neat and clean. His scriptures are worn and well-used. He says little in meetings. When he prays, it is with great reverence and respect. He is quick to express thanks for the blessings of God.

Undoubtedly, I have had much more education, and much wider experience in the world. But I have a feeling there is much to learn from people like him. Maybe there would be a lot to learn about teaching—and sharing.

I have lived nearly seven decades now, and still I have so much to learn about being a follower of Jesus Christ.

 

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