The next time you are around an infant observe how he or she absorbs all the world’s new sights, sounds, and experiences. Children are veritable sponges when it comes to learning. Once upon a time, we all walked in their shoes. While the dividends are great, such rapid learning is exhausting. No wonder many small children sleep upwards of fifteen hours a day. Perhaps, in combination with all the additional responsibilities of adulthood, this explains why many persons’ active learning tapers off after their school years. That’s a shame because learning keeps one’s mind nimble and one’s outlook on life youthful.
Jesus once said: “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 18:2). He was thinking of humility as the childlike characteristic which marks those worthy to enter the kingdom of God; he just as easily could have called our attention to a child’s hunger for learning. After all, one aspect of humility is not thinking ourselves wiser than we are (Romans 12:16). It’s easy to think that by a certain age one knows all one needs to know about an issue such as Christian faith.
In our infancy and youth, we learn a lot of the mechanics of daily life. That’s also true of Christian spiritual education. If we were fortunate enough to attend worship, Sunday School, or Vacation Bible School as a child, teachers introduced us to the stories of the faith. Really good teachers helped us see the application for our lives; yet their teaching was only a beginning point in opening up to us God’s wisdom for the living of our lives.
As we grow older, our context and, therefore, the application of what we have learned regarding our faith, changes. To give but a brief example: the sentence “Now Sarai was childless because she was unable to conceive” from the biblical story of Abram and Sarai (Abraham and Sarah) takes on a whole new significance when, as adults, we or our peers face the grief of infertility. Suddenly, we understand her situation in a way no child could. We may find God touching us in our own situation in ways we had not previously considered.
East Hills Moravian Church is blessed with an active body of adults seeking to learn more about their faith together. If you are not already involved in one of these opportunities for deepening your understanding of how faith relates to daily life, I invite you to consider joining an adult Sunday School class or bible study this Fall.
No matter what age you are God desires that you live an abundant life. As Einstein once noted, “Once you stop learning, you start dying.”
- Pastor Derek French