At the dawn of a new school year, I’d like to share a story I included last year. A young child came home from the first day of school. A parent’s first questions was, “Did you learn anything today?” The child answered: “Not enough! I have to go back again tomorrow!” Of course the child would have to go back to school again and again, to learn more, to grow more!
I think the best word we have for this is “progress.” One translation of the Bible puts it that way about Jesus in Luke, chapter 2: “Jesus, for his part, progressed steadily in wisdom and age and grace before God and the people.” The apostle Peter closed his practical letters with a call for disciples to grow: “Grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.” (2 Peter 3:18).
Growing in “wisdom and knowledge and grace” is an important part of being a human being, created by God. It’s also an important element of being follower of Jesus Christ. Being committed to a life of faith, is a commitment to life-long learning and growth. “Discipleship School” is for life! It doesn’t end at a certain age. God never wants us to call it quits! Our “graduation” doesn’t until the last day, when God accepts us into our eternal home, giving us life forever!
Certainly, one way we grow spiritually is to return to the Bible, over and over again. Learning and growing becomes a habit. (When we backslide, we can always return!) We could read every word of the Bible, cover to cover, and still, like a child starting school, we would return again. The Bible is the “Living Word.” This Word of God applies to us in new ways at different times. A motto in my church these days is: “Expect to be surprised!” This is the way of God’s Holy Spirit: always surprising us!
The beginning of a new school year is a time to think about our need to grow, improve, progress. This is a time to ask: “How can I grow more in the coming weeks, months, years?” This is a great spiritual question as well.
The Holy Spirit is actively calling us to grow spiritually, emotionally, and intellectually. To those in school, teachers and students alike, remember this: you are in a “vocation.” Being in school is your calling for this time and place. God is the one calling you to do well, to do your best, to give glory to God!
Reading the Bible, daily devotions, regular prayer, and weekly worship are “tried and true” ways to satisfy the inner longing we have to connect with God, and experience the “abundant life” Jesus promised. Doing well in school, your jobs, your retirement, are God’s calling, too.
For those who truly learn, they certainly understand that learning and growing is life-long. I pray that we will all go with God, and GROW with God!