A disciple is not above his teacher, but everyone who is perfectly trained will be like his teacher.”  Luke 6:40

It is enough for a disciple that he be like his teacher…”  Matthew 10:25

Experience is the best teacher.  Just go out and do it.  We learn best from our mistakes.  These are some oft expressed sayings about learning, which might lead us to think that the best way for us to gain new knowledge is to go out and try whatever it is that we want to accomplish.  I am not disputing the value of persistence (the story that Edison didn’t give up after 999 failures at attempting to invent the light bulb succeeding on his 1000th attempt).  However, what I am extolling are the virtues of humility and discipline that are involved in choosing the path to gain knowledge from an expert or at least someone more learned than your (or my) self.

I was very happy to have my first car.  I wanted to make sure that I did all that was needed to keep it in good condition; especially being that it was more than a decade old.  So having driven it for several months and putting a decent amount of miles on it, I decided it was time to change the oil.  Seemingly a very simple task (if from the word “seemingly” you are getting a sense of future calamity, you are wise).  I did decide to at least ask my father about it; and with the simple explanation he gave; look for bolt, loosen bolt, allow oil to drain, replace bolt, refill oil; Presto!, I decided that I did not need any supervision or help (again if you are getting a sense of foreboding; good).  Well let’s just say that I was not prepared for two bolts to choose from.  Choosing the wrong one, I depleted the car of transmission fluid instead of motor oil.  Did I learn?  Certainly.  Had I sought out a teacher; would I have learned just as well and less expensively; without a doubt.

Now in this world, it is true that we have to take a plethora of things into account when choosing if we are going to and to whom we are going to seek instruction from.  One aspect is; what is the cost?  How much am I going to have to pay, which also has a corresponding aspect of where else could I have put that expense to better use.  Second, who am I going to rely on to give me the training?  Today, we live in an era of debate and argument.  One only has to listen to most any news program or talk show to experience that every issue seems to have two diametrically opposed opinions and spokespeople with lofty credentials to support their opinion.  Similarly, what source material do you have?  Again, go to an internet search engine and type a topic in and look for the number of “hits”; the tens of thousands and often large number of resources to find information.  Again, many disputing or refuting the others.

Thankfully, Jesus made it surprisingly simple.  Cost?  Depending on how you look at it; either amazingly cheap or staggeringly expensive.  In one sense, it is free.  Jesus never required anyone to pay to attend his teachings and assuming you can secure a bible, also most churches have free attendance, then the out of pocket material expense is minimal.  As you read or listen,  who is there to help you understand?  Jesus Christ tells us that is covered as well.  The Holy Spirit is free for the asking who will come to dwell within us and teach us.  There is a time element as well.  On the other hand, if you count cost in terms of things you will find changing, it can seem overwhelmingly expensive.  Unfortunately, too expensive for many.  Who is my teacher?  Again simple, Jesus Christ.  That others, including pastors, parents, friends, scholars can help is possible.  As long as they are teaching Jesus Christ is the true only begotten Son of Our Heavenly Father, crucified and resurrected for the sake of our salvation, they can be very beneficial.  What is my primary source?  Again simple, the bible.  Yes there are many other things out there (this blog included); but, nothing should substitute for the Word of God.

So, we have a choice in life.  To go it alone or looking to the wisdom of this world only (can we say the blind leading the blind).  In the world, there is a chance for some partial learning; but, the lesson will most assuredly be missed.  Or we can, with true humility that comes from understanding that we are approaching and asking from The Perfect, and the discipline to use the two greatest tools available; prayer and The Word; tap into the greatest source of Knowledge and Wisdom that has ever been; freely given, there for the asking.  We do have to understand and be ready for two truths.  First, we will always be learning in this life.  While here, we will never obtain the Perfect Understanding, Judgment and Knowledge of Our Heavenly Father, and that is okay.  Second, we must be prepared that we will be changed as we learn.  The learning from God is not just a validation of our own plans and dreams.  He will open up to us, a new world, a new way of being that will quite probably be radically different than what we thought it would be. Yet it is the most crucial that we understand that the truest blessings and most love filled life is encased in those differences.   And here is where the hugest risk and a true mystery to me is.  For, we have been given the power to reject His teachings and wisdom in there entirety and go off on our own.

Dear Heavenly Father, you created us and then did not leave us to our own devices.  Through Your Grace, You have given us Your Word through the prophets on what is wise and true.  And when You deemed it the right time, You Gave us Your Son Jesus Christ to, not only instruct us, but to also be our perfect example.  We pray a prayer of thanksgiving for Your Mercy and Grace and ask that You would give us the spirit to come to You for our instruction and be open to Your Guiding.   That truly we, as His disciples, would strive to be like He is and in so doing live a life that Glorifies Your Most Holy Name.  In Jesus Christ we pray.  Amen