As I drove to work this morning, I passed middle school students out waiting for the school bus. To be honest, they looked miserable. I could just imagine what kind of things were going through their minds. I’m pretty sure all of the thoughts had something to do with not having to go to school and being back in their warm beds. That part I don’t blame them for. Its a cool, wet morning here today. But as I drove away from them, I began to think of how different I would approach school if I were starting over again. Like most other kids, I didn’t exactly like going to school. It was ok, but I couldn’t wait to be out of school when I could do what I wanted. I looked forward to graduating so I would be “free.” Oh, if I had only known then what I know now… Famous last words, right? I think about the classes I would take, how I would study more, how much more I would appreciate my teachers. And I say this as one who typically made A’s and B’s in school. I did what I had to.
As I have grown older, I have come to appreciate and place a greater value on learning. I think there is a saying about the older that you get, the more you realize how little you know. That is so true. In fact, I believe it is humbling. Now, as I move closer to a half century than I would like, I truly want to learn. I mentioned to my wife recently how my approach to preaching has changed. Why? Because I am continuing to learn.
That is something we all must do: continue learning. This isn’t just good practical advice, it is good spiritual advice too. Do you really think that you have learned all you need to learn from God? Doesn’t God tell us in scriptures to pay attention because God is about to do a new thing? God is continually revealing more to those who seek after him.
I believe that there are three main reasons that we quit seeking to learn. The first is that we become complacent. We simply feel like we have learned “enough.” The second reason is arrogance. We kid ourselves and think we know it all, or at least know all that really matters. Those two reasons are easily addressed: think again. Eat a slice of humble pie and get back to learning. However, the third reason is trickier: fear. Sometimes fear keeps us from a pursuit of learning. Why? Because we’re afraid that we might learn something that challenges our already formed opinions. Perhaps we learn that we have been wrong. Perhaps learning forces us to see things in a different way. Uncomfortable? Yes. Important? Absolutely. In fact, I believe that it is in learning God’s truth that we may be challenged more than in any other way. Learning shapes our actions. So don’t be afraid. I believe the Bible says something about that as well.
I know I am still learning. How about you?