Back To School

 September 4, 2014

“…Follow me and I will make you fishers of men.” –Matthew 4:19 (KJV)

“One day Jesus was praying in a certain place. When he finished, one of his disciples said to him, “Lord, teach us to pray, just as John taught his disciples.” – Luke 11:1 (NIV)


Last weekend, Debbie and I took Paige “back to school” to continue her college education. Paige is excited about learning and looking forward to a new year full of new opportunities to learn and grow. She, like the thousands of other young people who are going “back to school” are working on the fulfillment of a basic human need. In Maslow’s terminology it would be a part of self-esteem or “mastery”, but it can be said even more simply… the need to learn.

Jesus’ disciples exhibited these same needs. Indeed Jesus used this need to call His first disciples. In effect, He said to them… “You wanna go back to school!”

It seems to me that one of the keys to a full life is in this… the simple commitment to never stop learning. Now, you understand I’m not necessarily talking about formal education. It is the recognition that the world in which God placed us is so big, so complex and so vast that we can always learn and discover more about it. This commitment means different things for different people.

For some this commitment takes the shape of travel and discovering new things in different places. It is discovering not only the different landscapes that God created in our world, but the different viewpoints and cultures that God created and recognizing God’s “It is good” on each of these cultures.

For others it takes the place of delving into different areas of study. Having become proficient in one area of life and work, you decide to delve into another… an avocation or sport.

Some choose to become experts in just a few areas, always digging deeper and gaining more knowledge. I know one man who dove deeply into the study of birds and became a recognized amateur ornithologist. Others choose to learn a little bit about a lot of different things.

Some learn by formal means…taking classes, reading books and consulting with experts. Others learn by doing or by experience.

But for the happiest of people it seems are those who never stop learning, seeking to discover more about the world that God created and by so doing, to commune a bit more closely with God.

Perhaps this is what the disciples were really asking when they asked Jesus to teach them to pray. “Show us Jesus, how to know God a little bit more fully like you do.” And so, they went once again, back to school.

Prayer: Oh God, take me back to school with you, teaching me the many wonders you have created and are creating. Help me to be the new creation you intend. Amen.


Reverend Dr. Steve Van Ostran
Executive Minister

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