You, however, must teach what is appropriate to sound doctrine. Teach the older men to be temperate, worthy of respect, self-controlled, and sound in faith, in love and in endurance. Likewise, teach the older women to be reverent in the way they live, not to be slanderers or addicted to much wine, but to teach what is good. Then they can urge the younger women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled and pure, to be busy at home, to be kind, and to be subject to their husbands, so that no one will malign the word of God. Titus 1:1-5 NIV
Patience is mentioned 34 times in the New Testament and patient mentioned 9 times in the Bible (once in Old Testament in Ecclesiastes). I’ve concluded–speculatively–that patience was not a strong character trait in many before Christ made an appearance. I base this speculation on the fact that the Children of Israel were so impatient with God, that they moved away from His guidance in an effort to more like other nations (needing a king,etc).
Here–in Paul’s instructions to Titus--we see a reason for patience and that reason is to teach others how to walk in the light of God’s love. If we really want to others to learn something well, we must be willing to patiently teach them–expecting them to make mistakes, but will be quick to hear correction.
This then may explain why some people are not good teachers–spiritually or naturally. If we get angry or frustrated with those we attempt to teach–we actually inhibit their desire to learn. One of the reasons we tend to get impatient with people is because we forget the road we traveled to get where we are. Someone had to have patience with us in order for us to know what we know. Even if much of what we know was through an inquisitive nature where we sought information on our own, we still had to exercise patience with ourselves.
Not to long ago, a person who observed my teaching a class told me that I had the patience of job with my students. I was amazed at her assessment because I do not always think I’m very patient with students when I’ve repeated myself–ad nauseum. At any rate, I realized that she was referring to my ability to give them time to think about a question before providing them with an answer. In fact, I seldom provide answers to questions when reviewing information–I simply wait until someone comes up with the right answer and I confirm. Teaching is not about trying to pour information into someone’s head, but about giving them the tools they can use to draw conclusions on their own.
Think about it! How long did it take us to realize that the answers we needed were found in Jesus Christ. Questions about life and direction–found in Jesus. The voids we felt in our lives–filled with Jesus. And with me–He was very patient until I honed in what life really meant.
So, with patience–with self and others–will we move forward in teaching others about how to live the life God wants for us.