Proverbs 19:27 Stop listening to instruction, my son,
and you will stray from the words of knowledge.
One of the essential keys to a good life is to keep learning. We see both extremes: people who decide they’ve got it all together and won’t listen to a thing, and old people who continue to listen, learn, and grow. There’s no question which of those is more pleasant to be around! There is too much to learn for any individual to have a handle on everything, but human pride messes up practically everything it touches. We can be convinced of the truth of our current position, but we still need to be willing to hear differing opinions. That’s why the phrase we’re hearing a lot these days, “the science is settled,” is so dangerous. Genuine science is never “settled.” Quantum physics turns what we learned in high school on its head, but our cell phones wouldn’t work without it. The same applies in theology, though not in the same way. We always have more we can learn of God, so we need to keep pressing in for deeper understanding and fellowship. That’s why Paul so famously said he wasn’t perfect. (Philippians 3:10-14) It’s when we decide that we’ve got it all that we really get stupid, as this verse essentially says. That’s a major reason for the disastrous fall of church leaders at times. No leader is so high as to be beyond accountability, but sadly, some people fail to get that message. When we stop listening, we stray, just as this verse says.
I am very thankful that many people in my life, and all that I would call mentors, have been or are people who never stop learning. My paternal uncle was a biochemist who died at 92, having been in his laboratory just a week before his death, sorting and categorizing compounds for chemotherapy that he and his assistants had created over the years. He was listening to, and learning from, his assistants even then! I’ve lost track of all the awards he was given over the years, but he never “rested on his laurels,” but kept learning. That’s how I want to be! It was an enormous encouragement when the speaker at a conference recently pointed me out as a genuine disciple of Christ, because I kept learning. How could I do anything else? But if I take pride in such things I essentially nullify them. Jesus is the only perfect one, and He is my example and goal.
Father, thank You for continuing to lead me and open my eyes and heart to more of You. Thank You for the fun of learning more things about this world you’ve created, too. May I indeed keep learning and growing until I “know fully, even as I am fully known.” (1 Corinthians 13:12) Thank You. Praise God!