Learning is for everyone
It’s back to school time in these parts. Children and youth have attended their first classes of the year, and we all wish them the best year of their lives as they journey down that wonderful and often unappreciated road of education.
One of the main things about learning is that you never quit doing it. You don’t get to the point where you can say, “Well, that’s it, I’ve learned it all.” There are always new things to learn. After all, education is from the Latin word that means “to lead out.” We are always in need of being led out from somewhere to somewhere.
For those of us who claim to be Christians, this is especially true. We learn from Jesus all the time – if we are open to it. Some might think that the lessons of the Bible are for all time solid and firm. But we aren’t. We are always changing, always evolving. Our understanding of what Jesus teaches us in Scripture changes and moves as we get older and have more life experiences.
Probably the best lessons Jesus has to teach us are found in the Sermon on the Mount, Matthew chapters five through seven. In those three chapters Jesus reminds us of what the law demands. But then he challenges us and our assumptions about what we know through a series of teachings that follow the “You have heard it said … But I say unto you…,” model.
He reminds us, “You shall not kill.” But he pushes us not to be angry with a brother or a sister. He also says that we were taught not to commit adultery. He expands it to include the thoughts of our heads lest they lead us down a lustful path. He says that all have been taught to love our neighbors and hate our enemies. But he says that we are to love our enemies, too; to pray for them, to want the best for them, to offer our other cheek when they strike us.
Not easy teachings. Not if we are really living. But that is Jesus’ point. Be careful where your head takes you, he says. Don’t let it take you down the path of murderous thoughts, of contemptuous pride, of lustful desiring. Be holy, he says, as your heavenly Father is holy.
These are all lessons in living together in grace. As are his teachings about prayer, about not showing off for your long words and fancy language, but talking with God in secret, and like you would to anyone else. And perhaps the most popular one of our time, “Judge not lest you yourself be judged.” Live into that one for a while.
All of these are lessons our Master Teacher has for us. Do we think we know it all, or are we willing to listen and be taught again?
REV. DR. TOM ROBINSON is pastor of Farmville Presbyerian Church. His email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.