Engaged in Learning
Wednesday, March 17, 2021
Pastor Deb Kielsmeier
Have you ever known someone who learned a trade an apprentice? It was very common practice in Colonial America. As a young teenager, you would make a contract with a master silversmith or weaver or blacksmith, for example. You would go and live in the home of the tradesperson, who would feed and clothe you. Essentially, you became part of the family. In exchange, you spend your days working for and with the master tradesperson. In the process, you gained all the skills and knowledge needed for that trade. Some contracts were as long as seven years. When you finished, usually at age 21, you were a skilled journeyman, able to set up your own business and take on apprentices of your own.
Disciples, in Jesus’ day, were very much like apprentices. They were learners, following their rabbi everywhere, day and night, soaking in every word, watching every action. They too tried their hand at healing the sick and preaching the good news of the kingdom. The goal of each disciple was to become like the rabbi.
Jesus calls us to be his disciples. We too are called to follow, to spend time with him and learn from him, so that we might become like him.
This kind of learning is lifelong pursuit. It doesn’t end when you finish confirmation class or a bible study course. As we continue to learn about our faith, we see how our faith intersects with our own lives and the issues of our day.
As disciples, following Jesus also involves tending to and investing in our relationship with God. And as we all know, relationships take time and effort if they are to deepen and grow.
If we do not invest in our relationship with Christ on a regular basis…it is a little like a marriage relationship where a couple doesn’t talk after the wedding day. Daily interaction is a healthy way to grow any relationship. Spending time talking, listening, showing affection and care are critical. They also are important in our relationship with God.
As with any apprentice, it is important to intentionally meet with our master, so the Spirit has increased opportunity to shape us and transform us to be more and more like him.
A few of the practices that have helped believers stay connected to God and learn from the Spirit are particularly foundational. These include reading and meditating on scripture, solitude and prayer, and corporate learning and worship. Equally important to spiritual growth is intentionally walking this life of faith with other believers.
Connecting with God through scripture reading and meditation is not about acquiring lots of biblical information. Rather, it is about letting God speak to you through the bible. As you begin to ponder and linger on a verse or passage, turning it over in your mind, you often find that your thinking or attitudes are changed. As we meet with God in the quiet of solitude, we can begin to cultivate attentiveness to the ‘still, small voice of God,’ and give God access to our souls.
Gathering together is also important. We learn from one another. Through teachings and sermons, we learn more of God’s love for us and find ourselves encouraged and transformed in ways that we would not experience alone.
As we engage in our learning as disciples of Jesus, we become more and more like our rabbi Jesus. That creates ripples reaching out to others around us and for generations to come. What a gift to be a lifelong learner, an apprentice to the greatest master teacher of all time.