SPIRITUAL MATTERS: Living lessons learnt

School's back! Did I hear a collective sigh of relief?
For some parents, the longest school holiday break can be a touch too long. And this one followed a troubled school year with many children forced to study at home because of Covid restrictions on classroom teaching.
One boy, being taught at home by his mother, was heard to remark, (much to her dismay): "I hope I don't get the same teacher next year!"


Out walking one day, a small boy looked up, then asked his dad how electricity passed through the wires between the power poles. "I don't know," said his father. "I've never understood much about electricity."  Black clouds began to gather in the distance and they heard a distant rumble. "Dad. What causes thunder and lightning?" the boy asked. "Well son, that's puzzled me too," came the reply. After turning for home, the youngster continued to ask questions - none of which the father could answer. Finally, as they walked up the garden path to the front door, the boy said: "Dad, I hope you didn't mind me asking questions." "No son," replied his father. "How else are you going to learn!"

One of the things I found difficult to understand before studying electronics in the late 60's, was the speed at which electricity passes through wire, and radio waves through the atmosphere. Then I read an explanation in a textbook. "Imagine there's an unbroken pipeline connecting Sydney and Melbourne" wrote the author. "And the pipe is completely filled with billiard balls. If someone in Sydney pushes one more billiard ball into that end of the pipe, another will instantly pop out of the other end in Melbourne!" 

Ah! Now I understood the principle.

Some time ago in the Reader's Digest, Judith Swanson shared an insight into the way we learn. She wrote: "From the day we entered the ninth-grade health class, one blackboard was covered with the names and locations of the major bones and muscles of the human body. The diagram stayed on the board throughout the term, although the teacher never referred to it. On the day of the final exam, we came to class to find the board wiped clean. The sole test question was: Name and locate every major bone and muscle in the human body. There were howls of protest: 'We never studied that!' The teacher responded: 'That's no excuse. The information has been there for months.' After we struggled with the test for a while, he collected the papers and tore them up. 'Always remember,' he told us, 'that education is more than just learning what you are told.'


It's the same with our spiritual development. Rote-learning straight from the bible at Sunday School is okay - up to a point. But it's a poor substitute for grappling with life-issues by following the example of a loved and respected teacher with whom we've formed a close relationship of trust. Teachers like that work with us; encourage us; extend us; are infinitely patient with us; repay our respect over and over again; and set us up for life.
With that in mind, it becomes clear that the greatest teacher who ever lived is Jesus! And the subject he teaches is Life - with a capital 'L'. He not only imparted knowledge and insight, but he lived the lessons he taught.


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