Your responsibility to teach the gospel of Jesus Christ has never been greater. With the new emphasis on home-centered gospel teaching, every disciple of Christ is a teacher. As Elder Jeffrey R. Holland taught, “In this Church it is virtually impossible to find anyone who is not a guide of one kind or another to his or her fellow members of the flock.” But sometimes the task feels overwhelming.
We each come to gospel teaching with unique backgrounds, experiences, and perspectives. We also bring personal insecurities, preferences, and stumbling blocks, which cause us to doubt our own abilities or even, at times, the Lord’s wisdom in asking us to teach. President Thomas S. Monson counseled, “Now, some of you may be shy by nature or consider yourselves inadequate to respond affirmatively to a calling. Remember that this … is the Lord’s work, and when we are on the Lord’s errand, we are entitled to the Lord’s help. Remember that the Lord will shape the back to bear the burden placed upon it.” The Lord believes in you and will help you.
In the Company of Moses
If you feel inadequate, you’re in good company. Mighty prophets like Moses have felt the same. Moses was called to deliver the children of Israel from Egyptian bondage. In sincerity, and perhaps not a little fear, Moses shared his concerns about his responsibility with the Lord. But for each concern, the Lord countered with reassurance that all would be well. Consider Moses’s experience and the five questions he put before the Lord.
Who am I?
Moses began with the very natural question: “Who am I, that I should go unto Pharaoh, and that I should bring forth the children of Israel out of Egypt” (Exodus 3:11). Moses felt insignificant against an overwhelming enemy. He also recognized his own limitations in an important task.
You, too, seek to deliver God’s children from a daunting enemy. Elder Ronald A. Rasband taught, “Brothers and sisters, we are at war with Satan for the souls of men.” As a teacher, you have been asked to assist in the rescue of souls each time you teach. Such a commission might throw your own abilities into question, leading you to ask, “Who am I?”
But just as the Lord reassured Moses, He can calm your troubled heart. “Certainly I will be with thee” (Exodus 3:12), He promises. This is His gospel, and He cares about your efforts to succeed. He loves those you teach. He wants them to be strengthened by the messages you share. And He will take the burden of teaching off your shoulders, enabling you to accomplish His work. If you will give Him what you have, He will make you equal to the important role you fill.
Who Should I Tell Them Sent Me?
Moses then turned to a question of authority. “Behold, when I come unto the children of Israel, and shall say unto them, The God of your fathers hath sent me unto you; and they shall say to me, What is his name? what shall I say unto them?” (Exodus 3:13). In his moment of doubt, Moses needed reassurance that if those he was trying to deliver questioned his authority, he would know where to point them.
In response, the Lord said, “Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, I AM hath sent me unto you” (Exodus 3:14). “I Am,” another name for Jehovah or Jesus Christ, assured Moses that he had authority from God to fulfill his calling.
Don’t forget who has called you to teach. Whether you have been formally called to a teaching position or just follow the general direction of modern-day prophets to teach in your home, the same principle applies. You have been called by Jesus Christ and given specific gifts and insights to fulfill your role. Don’t doubt your ability or effectiveness. You have been given the charge to teach the gospel to others.
What if I Lack Credibility?
Maybe you have felt Moses’s next concern intimately at some point. He said, “But, behold, they will not believe me, nor hearken unto my voice” (Exodus 4:1). For me, teaching the Doctrine and Covenants is hard. Of all the standard works, it’s the one with the least historical information in the actual scriptural account. That leaves a lot of room for things I don’t know. When I stand in front of a class, especially a class of adults, I sometimes worry that I won’t be able to field questions about the history surrounding the revelations with adequate knowledge. I feel like Moses may have felt. What if they don’t believe me? What if I lack credibility because I don’t have answers to all their questions?
But the Lord didn’t answer this question directly. Instead, he performed two miracles—turning Moses’s rod into a snake and giving Moses’s hand leprosy—and told of an additional miracle—turning water into blood (Exodus 4:2–9). God is a God of miracles, and He will work miracles through you and me if we let Him. We don’t have to have all the answers to be credible in the things He has asked us to do. Instead, we have to turn to Him, trust Him, and go forth with our efforts.
Moses could not have performed those miracles on his own. But since He was on the Lord’s errand with the Lord’s authority, he had the credibility (even if he lacked personal ability) to fulfill his mission. What we bring to our gospel teaching is enough, if we do it hand in hand with the Lord. We are the right and best one to fulfill our calling because we have been called. That is all the qualification we need.
What About My Weaknesses and Insecurities?
Moses was concerned about his lack of speaking ability, something he clearly saw as a weakness. He said, “O my Lord, I am not eloquent, … but I am slow of speech, and of a slow tongue” (Exodus 4:10). Surely someone better could accomplish this great task. We’ve probably all felt that way at times in our teaching. Maybe you don’t enjoy presenting, feel confident in your gospel knowledge, or feel comfortable fielding questions on the fly.
To you, me, and Moses, the Lord responded, “Who hath made man’s mouth? or who maketh the dumb, or deaf, or the seeing, or the blind? have not I the Lord? Now therefore go, and I will be with thy mouth, and teach thee what thou shalt say” (Exodus 4:11–12). Moroni questioned his own failings and weaknesses in writing the Book of Mormon and wondered how others would see his efforts. But the Lord said, “My grace is sufficient for the meek, that they shall take no advantage of your weakness” (Ether 12:26). Our weakness doesn’t matter to the Lord nearly as much as our meekness. The Lord said if we are humble and exercise faith in Him, “Then will [He] make weak things become strong unto [us]” (Ether 12:27).
The Lord doesn’t want you to concentrate on your weakness in teaching. Instead, He wants you to acknowledge your dependence on Him and the Holy Ghost in all your teaching efforts. With His help, you can be a successful teacher no matter what personal insecurities you might possess.
Are You Sure I’m the Right One for the Job?
You might feel pressure to live up to this responsibility. You might even be able to name others who (you think) could do a better job teaching the gospel. Moses felt the same way. He said, “O my Lord, send, I pray thee, by the hand of him whom thou wilt send” (Exodus 4:13). In other words, don’t you think someone else is better suited for this big responsibility?
To that inquiry, not only did the Lord respond in the negative but, the scriptures say, “The anger of the Lord was kindled against Moses” (Exodus 4:14) for such a question. The Lord explained that Moses’s brother Aaron would have his own responsibilities to accomplish. Moses would receive the doctrine from Jehovah and Aaron would be the spokesman to deliver it to the people. They each had their own mission to fulfill. Aaron would be to Moses “the mouth” and Moses would be to Aaron “the word.” Together, they would accomplish the work of the Lord.
You have been called to teach. That means you are the best one for the job. And the Lord is there to help you build His kingdom. You just have to let Him lead you along, teach you the things you need to know through the power of the Holy Ghost, and get to work.
The Lord Wants Your Heart
As you examine these five questions, remember that “the Lord requireth the heart and a willing mind; and the willing and obedient shall eat the good of the land of Zion in these last days” (Doctrine & Covenants 64:34). Let your concerns go and give your heart to the Lord. As you do, He will bless you in your teaching efforts and make you the gospel teacher He needs you to be. With Him, you’ve got this!