In the field of personal work we find no better example than the Master's. Bible teachers do well to make the study of His life and methods paramount. Young Bible instructors unconsciously adopt many of the ways and expressions of those for whom they work. Youth looks around for heroes to emulate, and the ability to adopt their style and ways is pronounced at this stage of development. At times the traits of the positive personalities of their associated workers leave a very definite impression on them. The young worker must spend much time with the Master, with the objective in mind of learning from Him.
As we enter this field of study, we marvel at the various types of approaches Jesus used. We observe His skill in building up truth as He spoke to the woman of Samaria. We marvel at His method of clinching that interest as He guided it into a decision of eternal value. We note how His appeals varied with the different types He had to meet, and how He developed the burden for winning others in each soul He drew to Him. They beheld Him at His work and caught the burden to be fishers of men.
One outstanding trait of Jesus was His deep love for sinners. He completely forgot Himself in the fullness of the soul-winning task, but He never once forgot the purpose of His Father's mission for Him. With a deep appreciation of the sinfulness of sin, He longed to win each soul He contacted for His kingdom. The sincerity of His purpose made His appeals genuine and effective. Because of the seriousness of the hour in prophecy, time and again He urged home an appeal to help the soul to make the right decision. He knew the human heart and judged not from outward appearance, but from motive. He could discern between the searcher confused by skeptical suggestions and the stony heart of skepticism.
We continue to study Christ's discernment by noting His understanding of Nicodemus's problem. Humbly ignoring the flattery of His admirer, He straightway came to the point : "Ye must be born again." The point was not lost, even though it required the timely illustration of the wind to explain the mysterious work of the Holy Spirit. Well-known Scripture found a new application as He revealed His vicarious sacrifice to one who should have been well versed in the types and ceremonies of Israel. Tactfully and delicately, yet definitely, the Master told this great teacher that his fear of man must be overcome. It may have taken months to bring this truth to real fruitage, but it was this same Nicodemus who came forth boldly in the hour of Calvary's crisis.
The faint cry of faith by Bartimaeus was not missed. Jesus stimulated that faith and won an ardent disciple. Zacchaeus had a number of wrongs to make right, but Jesus went to his home and helped him to carry out all his purposes. Nathanael's honest inquiry was not judged by his apparently skeptical assertions. The Master judged his motive, and it was pure. True, his faith needed deepening, but the Great Teacher knew that this would follow his acceptance of the Messiah.
In Christ's midnight hour of grief and pain, He could still win a soul to God. In the faith of that thief on the cross beside Him, He saw the souls you and I must contact—those who have wasted their lives, but in the hour of death reach out for the assurance of a place in Cod's kingdom. The remaining few moments were freighted with the destiny of a soul. That was no occasion for intricate prophetic revelations. All that mattered then was a place with Him ! What wonderful discernment and what delicate skill ! May every Bible instructor spend more time in learning the ways of the Master Teacher.