04 June 2008

Learning Is Becoming

When I say the word “learn” it is probably more depressing than encouraging. People tend to develop a bad taste for learning at a very early stage in life.

I would encourage you, however, to rethink this issue. The ability to learn is the one thing that separates us from the rest of creation. There is no comparison between the human capacity to learn and that of any other form of created life. We find other forms of life interesting we don’t identify with them.

Our ability to learn also differentiates us from God. God doesn’t learn anything because He already knows everything. We learn because we can’t do otherwise. Learning is the one thing we do which God can’t.

Humans don’t become amazing they are amazing. The ability to learn is what makes us special not the fact that we do. Every person is a celebration at every stage of life. We are not surprised when a person becomes something. We are surprised when they don’t. God designed us to excel not survive.

We don’t naturally fly, burrow or live in water but we develop ways to do all these things safely. Our means of communication is so varied and complex we spend a life time studying and developing the ability.

Everything in creation serves a purpose but only humans must conform to the purposes they serve. In fact, we can serve no purpose at all without growing and developing. Whatever we do well we must learn. Birds can fly easily and naturally. Nothing comes to us by instinct.

Carpentry does not identify a species. It is one of many thousands of abilities which humans can learn and develop. And humans are also multi-talented. A good carpenter may be a great business man or musician or mathematician and so on. Beavers only build dams.

Humans have what I call become-ability. The inclination to go somewhere or become something is resident in every person. We begin at an early stage in life bursting at the seams to get somewhere quickly and, if encouraged, we develop a bias for the direction in which our lives will travel very soon after we start. The key that unlocks this door, the catalyst that makes progress possible, is learning.

Learning is our escape hatch from boredom and nothingness. It can take us just about any place we aspire to go. And learning is really a natural tendency. We don’t have to teach children to learn we foster in them the love of learning. We feed their curiosity and allow their investigation. When kids learn to hate learning, when learning becomes a drudgery rather than a passion, a natural inclination has been squelched.

The Bible makes it clear that learning is an important part of every life. The Book of Proverbs (only 31 chapters) uses the word “understanding” 62 times. Understanding is an outcome of learning. God would never encourage us to do what is not possible. Some people may never learn and change but everyone is capable of doing so.

To say that we are disciples of Jesus is to say that learning should take us in a particular direction. Believe it or not we are to become like Jesus and when we do, we and the world around us will be changed.

All the qualities that we applaud in others should be well developed in ourselves and Jesus is the greatest example to follow. He said "take my yoke upon you and 'learn' of me." He is everything we need to be or should aspire to be and God is attempting to mold us to His image.

Learning and becoming is the unique domain of humanity. Jesus took on human form to demonstrate what it looks like. We therefore should live it and embrace it every day. ThinkAboutIt

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