Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Born to Learn

My son Jacob Henry was born on November 12, 2007. It’s fun to watch him learn new things. Now, he hasn’t had any outrageous ideas yet or anything. He’s more in the discovery mode. Everything is new! That must be my hand. Oh, look at that light. Who is that guy making weird faces and talking funny? Jacob is a learner. Mostly learning fills the spaces between eating and sleeping.

In the beginning God created learners. It’s there in the text. God “took man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it” (Genesis 2:15). Think of the learning involved in that task. And, remember, Adam couldn’t run to Home Depot for a shovel! In fact, you can trace “learning” throughout the whole Biblical story. The Psalmists speak of meditating on God’s law day and night. Proverbs is concerned with turning knowledge into wisdom. The Prophets decried that the people of God didn’t know God or his Word. Jesus came as a teacher and said we were to love God with our minds. The Apostle Paul told us to take everything we learn and make it obedient to Christ. Learning, it seems, is central to being a Christian.

Here’s the deeper point: Learning is central to being human. We were born to learn. God has graciously given us a whole world to explore and discover. There are always new things to learn. But here’s the flipside: if we are not learning, if we are not continually using our minds in God honoring ways, we’re not living up to our God-given potential. Do you know people like that? They’ve stopped learning. You know the guy who hasn’t read a book in five years. Or, the person who has everything figured out and figures she doesn’t need to learn anything more. I know people like that. Sometimes I go down that road.

And here’s the weird thing about our culture: school sometimes hinders learning. Imagine that. If we don’t have good reasons for learning, or if our learning becomes disconnected to everyday life, it can become boring or meaningless. Jacob is growing by leaps and bounds. My prayer is that he continues to grow as a learner.

No comments: