I Love This Time of Year by Pastor Bennett
I love this time of year. As we begin to wring out the last few drops of summer, we’re also hitting the throttle on the new school year. As a (very part-time) teacher, I love seeing school hallways fill up again with students, some excited and others disgruntled at the arrival of the new year. I love meeting new students, getting into the work of learning and growing together, and jumping back into the daily and weekly routine.
It’s funny to me how “learning” is often associated with what takes place in school. Not that it’s not, but too often the assumption is that learning is an activity that starts and ends with school. No teaching and no learning during the summer! (Unless unfortunate circumstances require it, of course).
I’m one who hated learning as a high school student, or so I thought. I wasn’t a fan of school. Funny how things change. My personal appreciation for the process of learning, particularly in the school setting, began to grow in college. The president of my university would often say that, “All learning begins with disequilibrium.” Let that statement sink in. That started to make more and more sense to me as I waded through big ideas, attempted to understand Scripture better, and sought to hone in on a consistent and coherent biblical worldview.
The way I understand the nature and purpose of learning now is quite different than my understanding as an apathetic seventeen-year-old. While all the youngsters in our midst head back to school and return to the task of learning, they had better not be the only ones! In fact, I’m increasingly persuaded that there shouldn’t be much of a “return” to anything at all for any of us. Who says learning stops when school does? Who says learning precludes summer relaxation and recreation, or vice-versa?
The Bible says some things about learning (i.e. Ps 32.8, Phil 4.9, 1 Thes 5.11, Pr 1.7, Col 3.16, Matt 11.29-30, Matt 28.19-20, Ps 143.10, Pr 12.1 [one of my fav’s], Titus 2.1, etc.).
I love what Paul says to his growing student, Timothy: “As for you, continue in what you have learned and have firmly believed, knowing from whom you learned it and how from childhood you have been acquainted with the sacred writings, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus” (2 Tim 3.14-15).
These words of encouragement and instruction are for us too. We are “students of the Word,” as we’re reminded each Sunday. As followers of Christ, that’s simply what we’re called to be. So, how are you doing with that? You can be a lazy, apathetic student (much like my seventeen-year-old self). Or, you can be like Timothy.
Learning doesn’t stop. Studying, growing, stretching—none of it is meant to stop. You don’t “arrive” after getting through a certain book or sermon. Moments of disequilibrium continue to challenge us, to push us into a deeper grasp of the glorious truths of the gospel. So keep pressing on, student! Pay attention! Read your Bible. Join a Bible study (we’ve got some options!). Start a Bible study. Get a hold of a good book to stimulate your thinking (our resource center is a great place to start). School may be just starting up again, but may our learning be a continues adventure together.