I already mentioned that our Sunday School class has been studying the fruit of the Spirit. Recently, after a lesson on self-control in financial matters, I gave the class a homework assignment — find a way to be generous this week, something beyond what you would normally do. Then I came across this quote by Richard Baxter (1615-1691) who was an English Puritan church leader, poet and theologian.
“Do not only take occasions of doing good when they are thrust upon you; but study how to do all the good you can, as those ‘that are zealous of good works.’ Zeal of good works will make you plot and contrive for them; consult and ask advice for them; it will make you glad when you meet with a hopeful opportunity; it will make you do it largely, and not sparingly, and by the halves; it will make you do it speedily, without unwilling backwardness and delay. It will make you labor in it as your trade, and not consent that others do good at your charge. It will make you glad, when good is done, and not to grudge at what it cost you. In a word, it will make your neighbors to be as yourselves, and the pleasing of God to be above yourselves, and therefore to be as glad to do good as to receive it.”
In other words, we should not only study to know God’s Word, we should study to apply it. Have you been studying this way?
For more on generosity see this post:
the thank-you project by Nancy Davis Kho–Book Review
Whoever loves discipline loves knowledge,
but whoever hates correction is stupid. Proverbs 12:1
I learned in Fanning the Flame that there is one thing in life that should have no end — learning. Good leaders are lifelong learners. When I encounter a problem, my first impulse — get a book about it! Look it up on the internet! And of course, does the Bible have anything to say on tis issue? I love to read, study and learn, so I don’t understand why this isn’t the case with everyone.
The verse above from Proverbs addresses some of the reasons people don’t like to learn. Number one: learning takes discipline. God doesn’t just pour knowledge into our brains, we have to seek it out. Number Two (this is a big Lutheran one): we never did it that way before. Once we set out to learn about something, we may find out that we’re wrong! We may have to begin something new. We may have to change and step outside of our comfort zone. Now, these things are not easy for me either. Loving to read about or study a subject doesn’t mean that I always like what I find, or have an easy time assimilating it into my life. It just makes it easier to take that first step.
The thing is, everyone studies the things that really interest them. What is your passion? If it’s your children, you may have a computer app (like my daughter) that tells you about each developmental stage they are passing through. If it’s health and fitness, you probably go to the gym, take exercise classes and buy equipment and DVD’s to use at home. Is it sports? I bet you’re glued to the TV each time your favorite team plays, and you can recite the relevant statistics of key players.
As Christians, whether study comes naturally or not, we should have a passion for God and His Word. That means we will want to learn about Him and read His book. These days there are a host of ways to do this. There are audio books; there are computer programs; there are movies. There are many translations of the Bible. You can join into Sunday School, Bible study or a small group. Ask your Pastor or a friend like me who loves to learn. They’ll help you find the right spot to live and learn.