Why are we so eager to be experts and so hesitant to be learners?
The first six months of our Project has been a “relocation” phase. When we talk about what we are doing, we use the language of learning and discerning. It’s become obvious to us as we discuss the area that we’ve learned a lot. On a few rare occasions, even locals confirm how much we’ve learned in relatively short amount of time! However, the more locals we meet, the more we realize how little we know about our new home.
A big part of us wants to jump pass this necessary education. If there was a “local exam” we could take, we’d be eager to see if we’d pass as locals. We became Fairfield residents almost six months ago, but there’s still so much we haven’t experienced. We haven’t even made it through all four seasons or an entire school year yet.
As winter and Christmas approach, we are reminded of how much we are still learning about this new context for life and ministry. We are getting the impression the learning may never stop. And it shouldn’t!
The word Christians use for a follower of Jesus is disciple. A disciple is a student, a pupil, an apprentice, a learner. Committing to Jesus means we are forever in the learning phase.
Honestly, we haven’t had to be this intentional about learning since we were in school. Our modern world places education within a system that primarily operates in the first part of our lives (consummating in higher education in our young adult years). Most people in middle class America stop learning once they have the appropriate degree(s). They’re “done” with schooling.
Our relocation has forced us to become students of culture and Christ in a new context. The way this community and the Bible are coming alive is hard to describe. It’s almost as if we are in kindergarten learning the alphabet and primary colors for the first time. And yet, it’s also like being in an advanced degree program where we are about to defend a doctoral thesis!
Jesus promised the presence of the Holy Spirit who would guide us into all truth (John 16.13). In our eagerness to be seen as experts, we shortcut some of the most fundamental and complex lessons He is trying to teach us. Following Christ is a commitment to lifelong learning.