From the Preacher’s Pen…

Our look at several of God’s gifts to us continues. The gift of labor helps us to find value even as we grow and learn. Friendship teaches us to be a part of a team that we might accomplish more together than separately. The gift of money teaches us what we may accomplish in doing for and helping others rather than selfishly doing only for ourselves. The gift of family gives us a glimpse of the Heavenly relationship envisioned by God for His people. The gift of gratitude helps us to be truly thankful and enables us to count our blessings as we realize how rich and numerous they really are and the gift of laughter gives us a view of our God’s own real joy and the gift of problems allows us to experience, know and understand in order to grow.

Let’s look at another gift that enables us to even better appreciate God and His plan for us…

The Gift of Learning

Learning. We’ve all made fun of it. We joke about “book” learning vs “real” or experience-based learning. But when all is said and done, without learning you are stupid, dumb, ignorant, and there is no honor in that.

Consider, for one example, math. There is no point in learning math! It’s a waste of time! Until someone at a store tries and fails to give you back the correct change for a purchase. Until you can’t pay your bills or balance your checkbook. No, there is no point in learning math… until you realize that math preceded, indeed may well have given birth to, written language. Without math, we would have no technology and no ability to even know what we possess.

Yeah, but I don’t like math and I don’t like learning! Okay, so our goal is to live in total ignorance. There’s not much going to happen in that person’s life, is there?

As God brought His people out of Egyptian slavery He began to teach them. For centuries they had learned more about Egyptian gods than about the Lord. Forty years of instruction later and Moses reemphasized the same lesson: Now, O Israel, listen to the statutes and the judgments which I am teaching you to perform, so that you may live and go in and take possession of the land which the Lord, the God of your fathers, is giving you (Deuteronomy 4:1). Remember the day you stood before the Lord your God at Horeb, when the Lord said to me, ‘Assemble the people to Me, that I may let them hear My words so they may learn to fear Me all the days they live on the earth, and that they may teach their children’ (Deuteronomy 4:10).

Look back at that second scripture. Did you notice that it was vital not only for God’s people to learn but for them to teach their children? Learning that is not used and passed on is wasted!

At the end of 40 years, Moses could say, See, I have taught you statutes and judgments just as the Lord my God commanded me, that you should do thus [the same] in the land where you are entering to possess it (Deuteronomy 4:5). In Deuteronomy alone, Moses repeats this same lesson over a dozen times. The Lord thinks it is pretty important to learn the right things.

Learning is how we come to know God. The New Testament emphasizes this same lesson as Paul commanded Timothy and generations of Christians to come: You, therefore, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus. The things which you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses, entrust these to faithful men who will be able to teach others also. (2 Timothy 2:1-2)

Think about Paul’s words a moment. If we are to be strong and faithful in the grace that is in Jesus then we MUST continue to learn and teach each generation. That sounds suspiciously like a repetition of the Great Commission, doesn’t it?

In the same letter to Timothy Paul goes on to warn about the useless false teachers that are fools that are always learning and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth (2 Timothy 3:7). Opposing learning and opposing the truth are the same thing! Paul makes that point in the very next verse (2 Timothy 3:8) as he equates such people to the obvious Egyptian fools that opposed Moses.

Jesus put it like this: Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls (Matthew 11:29).

God gives us the gift of learning the truth that we might share the truth with others! Just as with all other gifts from God, we may misuse and abuse this gift. The choice is ours to make. Choose life. Choose the Lord.

— Lester P. Bagley