There is a moment when we learn faster than at any other time. I believe that when I ask a question and receive an answer – that was a teachable moment. I don’t believe that there is such a thing as a “dumb question”. When a student asked the teacher a true question, then a teachable moment has arrived. I’ve been a student and I had been known to ask a question just to get the teacher off subject and distracted. That was misbehavior on my part. It’s important for the teacher figure the difference between a teachable moment and a “distraction question”.
One of men appointed by the apostles named Phillip brought the gospel to Samaria first. He was a man of deep faith and Holy Spirit led. He was directed to a specific road south from Jerusalem to Gaza – so Phillip went. One his way he meets an important government official from Ethiopia. The official was reading in the book of Isaiah. The Spirit of God told Phillip to go near the official. Check this out….30 Then Philip ran up to the chariot and heard the man reading Isaiah the prophet. “Do you understand what you are reading?” Philip asked. 31 “How can I,” he said, “unless someone explains it to me?” So he invited Philip to come up and sit with him. 32 This is the passage of Scripture the eunuch was reading: “He was led like a sheep to the slaughter, and as a lamb before its shearer is silent, so he did not open his mouth. 33 In his humiliation he was deprived of justice. Who can speak of his descendants? For his life was taken from the earth.” 34 The eunuch asked Philip, “Tell me, please, who is the prophet talking about, himself or someone else?” 35 Then Philip began with that very passage of Scripture and told him the good news about Jesus. 36 As they traveled along the road, they came to some water and the eunuch said, “Look, here is water. What can stand in the way of my being baptized?” 38 And he gave orders to stop the chariot. Then both Philip and the eunuch went down into the water and Philip baptized him. (Acts 8:30-38 NIV)
I love the details of this event for several reasons. First, Phillip listened and obeyed the Spirit of the Lord when directed to go to a specific road and then to a specific person. (I believe the Holy Spirit still gives specific instructions like to believers today.) Second, I love the fact that Phillip started where the Ethiopian was reading and taught him about Jesus. (I believe the Lord starts where are, but is not content to leave us there – He draws us to Himself. Phillip used the mans questions as a HUGE TEACHABLE MOMENT to take the conversation from Isaiah to what just happened a few months back with Jesus.) Third, I love the obedience of the Ethiopian official. He heard the message of Jesus and He believed and wanted to be obedient in baptism. (I believe that God honors obedience over big ideas and big dreams. Obedience is me surrendering to God’s big ideas and big dreams.)
This teachable moment probably changed the direction of a country. This man was strategically placed in a position of influence. Teachable moments should not be missed. When a child asked questions of their parents – a teachable moment has arrived. I get excited about teachable moments even with the agents in our company. I think teachable moments can be big for both the instructor and the student – a growing moment too!