Summary: As we go through life we move from one page to the next… we move from chapter to chapter… leaving behind the past and moving into the next stage of our life… and along the way... we are still learning – still students!
“Still a Student” Psalms 119:105
A class of high school sophomores had been assigned a term paper. Now the day of reckoning had come, the papers were due to be handed in. The teacher knew that a particular student, named Gene, had not been working steadily on his paper as others had in the class.
He was prepared for some sort of excuse. When the teacher went to collect the papers Gene said, “My dog ate it.” The teacher, who had heard them all, gave Gene a hard stare of unbelief But Gene insisted and persisted, “It’s true. I had to force him… but he ate it.”
Journey of Discovery
This morning I want to talk to you about being a student. I want to talk to you about still being a student and what it really means to be a lifelong learner. For many of us the idea of being a student brings back bad memories of homework, tests, pop quizzes, bullies, or tough teachers who we are still quite sure really were out to get us! What I am going to share with you today represents something quite different than that, though…
When I was teenager I spent a couple of years living in Butte, Montana. Butte is nestled a mile high in the Rocky Mountains and is literally surrounded by seemingly untouched, pristine, wilderness.
I used to regularly hike and explore those mountains. I would go to the base of a mountain with a backpack and a gold pan and enough food for the day and then hike and explore. I’d find little streams and get out my gold pan and look for gold. Sometimes I would find little flakes and put them in a little vile for safekeeping.
Every now and then I would stumble upon an abandoned mining camp or a log cabin and imagine the early settlers who had come from back East in search of gold and fur… I would often stop and look out over the valleys and enjoy the clean smell of the pine as the wind swept through the trees.
Just talking about those beautiful mountains, somehow takes me back to those tranquil moments… and those hikes, those trips through the Rocky Mountains, remind me of the greater journey of our life.
Just as I used to travel through those mountains – learning all that I could… turning over rocks and sifting the sandy gavel of mountain streams… you and I travel through this life… with opportunities to learn… to still be a student… at our very fingertips every moment of every day…
This morning I want to share with you three principals that can help us to still be students… principals that help us to be lifelong learners; true disciples of the Master of Mercy… When Jesus called the disciples He called them into a lifestyle of discipleship… a way of life filled with learning from the greatest of all teachers.
Learn Something from Everyone
It has been well said that, “Every man is my superior, in that I may learn from him.” Every one of us has a unique story to tell and a distinctive lesson to teach. Be very careful about assuming that you can’t learn something from anyone… we can learn something from everyone…
I am reminded of the story of the two men were riding a bicycle built for two and they came to a big steep hill. It took a great deal of struggle for the men to complete what proved to be a very stiff climb.
When they got to the top the man in front turned to the other and said, “Boy that sure was a hard climb.” The fellow in back replied, “Yes, and if I hadn’t kept the brakes on all the way we would certainly have rolled down the hill backwards.”
People are always asking those who have achieved great accomplishments, “What’s your secret?” We always seem to assume that those who achieve great success must know something that we don’t. We naturally assume that they have, for some unknown reason been granted access to a vault of secret and valuable information.
But the truth is that all of us are surrounded by a wealth of information. The trouble is not that answers are not available to us… the trouble is that we very often are not asking the right questions to the right people.
How often do we get so involved in our problems, so caught up in our own point of view that we don’t even bother to find out if there are other potential ways of looking at our circumstances? How many times have we been blinded by having pride in our own opinion?
Proverbs 9:9 says, “Give instruction to a wise man, and he will be still wiser; teach a righteous man, and he will increase in learning.” (ESV)