A Teachable Spirit

“To learn, you must want to be taught.” I love this rendition of Proverbs 12:1 in The Living Bible. It prompts a question in me: To what extent do I have a teachable spirit?

As I’m maturing—that is, as I’m growing older—I have to admit it gets easier and easier to resist change. I tend toward getting comfortable and settling in rather than staying on the growing edge of learning.

Yet life and culture are dynamic and opportunities to keep learning are everywhere around me. I can’t believe how much I might miss if I simply coast through life. 

Some years ago, my wife, Debby, and I got the okay from our pastor to lead a two-year discipleship training class with people in our church in Bloomington, Indiana. Since the number of participants would be limited, I sat down with the pastor and asked him to recommend people he thought would benefit most from the class.

It wasn’t a large church. So the pastor pulled out the church directory and began reading through it name by name. Periodically, he would pause and say to me, “Invite this couple” or “Invite this person.”

After a while, I realized he had skipped one of the couples on my list. Let’s call them the Smiths. I stopped and asked, “What about the Smiths?”

I’ll never forget his response: “Bob, don’t ask them. They’ve stopped learning.” Later, after relating this to Debby, I said to her, “I hope no one can say that about me as I get older.” 

As I challenge myself, let me offer a word of encouragement to you as well. When we wake up each morning, one of the first things we should do is to ask God to “teach me today.” Then let’s keep our eyes and ears open as we read the Scriptures, observe life, and interact with others throughout the day.

No doubt about it: It will be amazing what God will teach us! Who’s with me?

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