Repetition is an Excellent Teacher

James Hassell   -  

Can you remember some of the more effective teachers from your school experience? I consider myself blessed to recall some outstanding educators. For instance, there was Mrs. Lamar who patiently taught my friends and I how to read. I saw Mrs. Henry both at school throughout the week and then at Sunday School on the weekends. She was a great mentor! We were awed by and even somewhat fearful of Mrs. Pemberton, who demanded and got much respect for being a solid and strict English teacher. I can still hear her whisper in my ear when crafting sermons. Perhaps the most effective teacher in my life however has been an often overlooked, inanimate, but very much appreciated professor called “repetition.”

Repetition is simply the accomplishing of a task over and over again. Sometimes we use another word for it called “practice.” For example, when my colleagues and I learned biblical Greek in seminary, we started by writing the alphabet at least twenty-five times per night for a week. This amount of repetition, although cumbersome and somewhat exhausting, provided the foundation for learning a new language. Consider all the things you’ve learned by repetition. God certainly knew what he was doing when he constructed ways for us to practice repetitive skills. Somehow our brains often learn best through repeated practice.

Did you know that the gospel of Jesus Christ came to the Gentiles through repetition? In Acts 10:16, we learn that Peter’s vision of the clean/unclean animals was repeated three times. Isn’t it something that Peter’s name is oftentimes linked with three repetitious actions? God sure knew how to get through to him! Because of Peter’s thrice-repeated vision, he went to witness to an influential Gentile named Cornelius. The rest, as they say, is history. Christianity was not meant to remain sheltered or secluded among one kind of people. The blessing of salvation was to be open to all. God taught us this through constant repetition.

I encourage you to keep track of things that God may be showing you over and over again. In fact, it may be handy for you to keep a prayer journal or write down what the Holy Spirit is saying to you. By doing so, you may find that God speaks in similar and repetitive ways to you as God did even to Peter. When you pursue an education in God’s school of repetition, you may find yourself changing the world!