Originally published Thursday, 29 August 2013.
"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. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light." Matthew 11:29-30
As the Summer winds down and the school year begins, it seems fitting to wrap up our Summer Refreshment series with thoughts of learning, growth and cultivating a teachable heart.
My Dad and Grandpa were great examples of what it means to be a learner. My Dad is a brilliant man with a couple dozen patents. He's an engineer in a world of PhDs. He has his AA, but I came along and interrupted his academic pursuits. He’s always pined for that degree (or a few) but life hasn’t fit with those goals. He’s worked hard and studied hard. He’s always got a stack of books he’s pouring over. Learning isn't just about college; it's a lifestyle and attitude. I watched learning hearts in both these men. My Grandpa (on my Mom’s side) was the same way. No fancy degrees, but always learning, studying, growing. After he retired, he went back to community college, learned a few trades and ended up at the front of the class teaching upholstery and senior computer skills. Right up until his passing he was always busy with a project and usually trying to learn something new in the process.
Though I often replace books with reading articles on the internet, I picked up that same love of learning. While I love learning new skills and factoids, the most important direction my learning can lean is into Christ.
Jesus instructed us to take His yoke (a farming tool that kept two oxen in step and sync with one another) upon our lives and LEARN from Him. And what will we learn? Much! But the verse specifically sites two character qualities--Christ’s humility and His gentleness. We will also learn that following Him is not burdensome. I have much to learn still about Christ’s humility. It doesn’t pour out of me as freely as it ought. I know because when I’m offended, my ego is bruised far too often. Humility doesn’t have a bruised ego. It doesn’t think about itself that much. Gentleness in the Greek is a word very similar to our word for humility, but adds the thought of majestic power under restraint. Gentleness is exercised the moment when your witty sarcasm could defend yourself (or someone else) while simultaneously publicly shrinking your offender down to size, yet you choose not to blast with your words. It’s choosing not to do something, even though you have the full capability of doing it.
It’s not just gentleness and humility we learn in Christ. We also have a way of life to learn, a way that isn’t burdensome... On a slight rabbit trail... I’ve been pondering and praying over Proverbs 31:18. It says “She senses that her gain is good.” I think most of us women run around feeling a day late, a dollar short and ten pounds over weight. We were meant to sense that our gain is good. We were designed to live in such a way that when we lay our heads on the pillow at night we sense our gain is good. We were made for some level of life fulfillment and satisfaction...not all this stretched and worn business we feel. I’ve been praying it for our women’s ministry and for myself. That the Lord would teach us and make us into women who are so in step with our Creator’s design that we can live with the sense that our gain is good like the Proverbs 31 woman. I have much to learn to become that kind of a woman. One that knows what she can influence and what she can’t; one that knows where to throw her whole-hearted passions and what is a waste of effort and attention before she gets waist deep in it; one that knows what to reach for and what to let go of...yeah. Lots to learn. I think learning this is a piece of what Christ meant when He said His burden is light.
Maybe you have a more specific life need right now. More specific than just honing your life priorities and perspective. When I first got married I had SO much to learn about managing a home. I was scared to death my husband would hate being married to me because I was such a numpty about pretty much everything except for cleaning. I didn’t even know how to make coffee in the coffee maker! So everyday before I made dinner or set about some chore that had a steep learning curve for me, I prayed. “Lord, Your word says I can do all things through You and that Your Holy Spirit will teach me all things... this probably isn’t as important as 90% of the rest of the requests at your feet this moment, but I am learning on Your promises. Please help me and teach me!” And He did. I told another young wife she could totally nail cooking if I did (my family used to tease me because I could botch boxed mixes), she just needed to pray first. She thought I was nuts. And maybe I am. But the Bible does indeed tell us to pray for all things, pray for wisdom, that the Holy Spirit will teach us all things and that through Christ we can do all things so I think all includes serving our families, even if it’s “just” in the kitchen!
Whatever sits in from of your precious life right now, I am praying the Lord will teach you everything you need to be fruitful and glorify our Father in the midst of it.
A number of Christian mentors have stated that after salvation, learning who they were in Christ was the next most pivotal point in their Christian growth. Here’s a set of verse cards to remind you How God Sees You and you can enter the drawing below to win a copy of the Bible study: My Reflection is His Eyes - Seeing Yourself as God Sees You.
Get this week's pdf. of verses for our Learning to Follow Him theme here. Sign-up to join us for the Summer Refreshment series via email, facebook, twitter or join the Pinterest group board. In case you've missed any of the facebook Bible verse covers, click here. Have a blessed week!