Teaching and preaching for almost 51 years, my experience has handed to me several “teachable moments.” That expression is often applied to events that occur in a class setting you didn’t expect and at first thought you were not ready for. Interruptions, unforeseen questions or there was the time in Iowa when the power went out, we were in total darkness and my text was “walking in the light.”
One such “teachable moment” occurred several years ago when I was teaching a Bible class from Romans 14. Making an application from the text, I said that “intentionally offending someone about a matter of judgment” constitutes a stumbling block. As that point was being developed (closely following my structured presentation), a visitor raised his hand. When I acknowledged him, he stood up!
He said, “Brothers and sisters, I want to confess my sin. I now understand the impact of Romans 14, and I have been in violation of this teaching. I have a friend at work I eat lunch with, and I’m trying to convert him to Christ. He abstains from pork. I’ve told him he can eat pork. And I often consume a pork sandwich at our lunch table just to make that point. I see now how wrong I am in purposely offending my friend on a matter of judgment. I’ve been wrong. Would you pray for me?”
That has never happened to me before or since then. My response was to lead a prayer just as the brother requested. It was a memorable and teachable moment for all of us.