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More than book learning

As many parents are undertaking the task of 'virtual schooling' their kiddos at home, I have to remind us of this one important fact: Education isn't a right - it is a privilege. There are so many countries where an education is just impossible - kiddos having to work in the fields, mines, markets, and shops long before they ever get to the age we refer to as 'school-aged'. These kiddos learn the value of family - taking care of each other. Does that make them 'uneducated' - nope, it just means they may not be as 'book smart' as those kiddos who get the privilege of attending school for twelve or more years. Here is a quote I came across that really emphasizes what I'd like each of us to consider this morning when it comes to our own personal learning experiences: The aim of education is the knowledge, not of facts, but of values. (William Inge) It is more important for each of us to learn good or solid values than it is for us to get all the book-learning in the world. One is lived-out wisdom, the other is just 'window dressing'.

My son, if you receive my sayings and store up my teachings within you, make your ear open to wisdom. Turn your heart to understanding. If you cry out to know right from wrong, and lift your voice for understanding; if you look for her as silver, and look for her as hidden riches; then you will understand the fear of the Lord, and find what is known of God. For the Lord gives wisdom. Much learning and understanding come from His mouth. (Proverbs 2:1-6)

Values are learned at the feet of the cross. We don't learn them by just reading the Word of God and then going about life without ever allowing that word to penetrate our hearts, minds, and eventually our spirit. How do we develop solid and good values? It begins by first 'receiving' what God says as truth - facts are actually the first part of learning, but we don't stop there - we go on to allow those 'facts' or 'truths' to affect the way we live. We store these facts away because they are like a 'savings account' we can make frequent withdrawals from as the need is there. The real learning goes beyond the facts as we begin to make our ears open to receive wisdom. In other words, we take what we learn as 'fact' or 'truth' and we begin to allow it to be worked out in our lives - it changes the way we think and act.

Values are also learned because we have an intensity of desire to learn them. We aren't always trying to resist them, but are honest about our resistance. Our passage reminds us there is this 'crying out' to truly know right from wrong, to gain understanding that goes beyond 'book-learning'. That suggests a clear earnestness to receive from God. If we are to instill values in the lives of our children, we need to be earnest about having those values built into our lives first. The values of the child oftentimes are learned more in 'seeing what is done' rather than just hearing about it. The parent provides for the child's learning not so much by 'teaching the lesson' as much as by modeling it.  I think we were given the opportunity to see how to live out solid and good values when Jesus modeled them for us in his human form. 

Did you ever stop for a moment to think about why Jesus came in a 'bod' to this earth? Yes, he was connecting with humankind. Yes, he was prepared to be the sacrifice for our sins. But, I also think Jesus wanted us to 'see' with our eyes, to experience with our senses, the way 'holiness' can be lived out each day. God connects with us in the person of Jesus - giving us a solid and pure example of the values he desires us to learn. Modeled values purposefully lived out so we'd see how to live ourselves. Just sayin!


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