Teachable Spirit

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Sunday, March 8, 2015 0 comments

by Ami Samuels

Do you have a teachable spirit? One day last fall I was eating lunch at my kitchen table looking out over the lake. I noticed that some ducks had landed in the water just outside my window. I sat quietly observing the ducks, and as I watched them I began to wonder what I could learn from their behavior.

To be honest I didn’t glean any new insight about ducks that day. What I discovered was that I try to have a teachable spirit. I try and learn from other people, animals, circumstances, and nature.

Many years ago, our pastor was sharing that he had planned a trip to visit his mother. While he was at his mother’s, he would attend Sunday morning service with her. At the time he had grown his church to around five hundred members, and he was preaching two services every Sunday (this doesn’t sound big by today’s standards but it was considered a large congregation in the 1990s). His mother’s church was a small country church. It had one service and about fifty members. He told us that he could have had the attitude of “What can I learn from this pastor” in a sarcastic way. But he didn’t; he went to her church with the attitude of, “Lord, what can I learn today in this message from this pastor?”

That is a teachable spirit.

We do need to be discerning in what we are being taught. Make sure that what is being communicated is Biblical. Look up scripture verses and seek wise counsel if you aren’t sure about what is being taught, because not all things being taught are correct. Do your homework and check it out. Check out this post by my fellow writer Charlie Wolcott for some more on recognizing false teachers.

Likewise, not all lessons are good. My boys have had several coaches in sports over the years. They have had some outstanding men coach them: men who taught character, prayed with them, and coached as Godly examples. On the other hand, we have had some not so great coaches: men who were leading by poor example, didn’t know the game, and were unfair. I have had many conversations with my boys about the fact that we can learn something from everyone. You can learn how to be, or you can learn how you don’t want to be. You can learn how to treat people, or you can learn how not to treat people. You can learn from their character or from their lack of character. There is always something to be learned in every situation.

One particular season, one of my boys was having a difficult time with a new coach. I asked him, “What have you learned from him?” To which he answered, “I learned how not to treat others. I learned that I never want to make anyone feel like he made me feel.” That is a tough lesson to learn but it is an important lesson. It was heartbreaking to hear, but I knew he was learning a lesson sometimes only life can teach.

In a devotion entitled “Cramming for Finals,” Florence Littauer writes, “A ninety-six year old lady was a faithful attendant at my women’s club Bible studies. She came with her lessons prepared and knew all the answers. One day a tactless member asked her, ‘Why do you work so hard on these lessons when you’re so old and it doesn’t matter?’ Little Bess Elkins looked up and said confidently, ‘I’m cramming for my finals.’ It’s never too late to get ready for our finals.”

Having a teachable spirit requires us to reflect, discern, and study, but if we want to continue to grow as people and in our faith we need to continually grow. Jesus was often referred to as Rabbi or Teacher in the Bible because he was constantly teaching. As children of God we need to be continually learning.

As Proverbs 1:7 says, “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and instruction.”

This forum is meant to foster discussion and allow for differing viewpoints to be explored with equal and respectful consideration.  Any foul language or threatening/abusive comments will be deleted.  Users who engage in threatening or abusive comments which are physically harmful in nature, will be reported to the authorities.