A Yearning to Learn

During elementary school I was considered one of the smartest students in my class. When I entered junior high, my grades went down because I hated doing homework (although I spent much time reading encyclopedia articles). Still I managed to graduate from high school. Then I took several college courses but never got a degree. Often the classes I liked best were those that provided hands-on training instead of listening to lectures all hour long.

Before answering the call to full-time ministry, a few people suggested I go to Bible school. The Lord told me that wasn’t necessary. I listened to numerous sermon tapes while working temporary jobs and then applied what I learned during street evangelism outings. I also attended various conferences but in recent years cut back on that. Sitting in meeting after meeting does not automatically produce spiritual growth. As James 1:22 says, “But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves.” 

A pastor’s wife I know once had a vision of 500-pound canaries sitting in church pews with their beaks open as if they were saying, “Feed me!” Many Christians today get fat on the word but hardly do anything with it. Jesus said, “Go ye.” He didn’t say, “Sit ye.”

Now I’m not criticizing all forms of higher education. Proverbs 1:5 says, “A wise man will hear and increase learning...” Often extra schooling is required to enter a particular profession. I have a friend who was inspired to become a lawyer in his late 60s. He went to law school at Liberty University and is now a staff attorney for the Alabama Supreme Court.

At the same time, additional education can be a distraction if God hasn't called you to enroll in a particular college. Many of the early apostles didn't attend the Rhemas and ORUs of their day. Acts 4:13 says, “Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were uneducated and untrained men, they marveled. And they realized that they had been with Jesus.”

Just before dying in a plane crash in 1982, Christian singer Keith Green wrote a powerful article titled “Why YOU Should Go to the Mission Field.” In which, he stated... 

Yes, God does call some people to go to college. Sometimes it's to get training for a ministry calling He's made clear to them. For instance, if you know what country you're called to, perhaps God would lead you to learn the language and culture somewhat before you go (although the very best place to learn is within the country itself - it's a definite ‘crash course’)!”

Ultimately our teacher is the Holy Spirit. His text book is the Holy Bible.

“For whatever things were written before were written for our learning, that we through the patience and comfort of the Scriptures might have hope.” - Romans 15:4

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