Instruct the wise and they will be wiser still; teach the righteous and they will add to their learning.
Try to remember: how did graduation feel? There can be lots of answers: relief, anticipation, sense of accomplishment, joy, excitement, plus a bunch of others.
Each time I graduated, it was all the things listed above. But I also quickly realized after each graduation, the real learning had just begun. While I appreciate and value education significantly, formal education has never given me all the skills needed to properly do a job. There has always been on-the-job-training.
While in seminary, one professor cautioned us not to stop learning after graduation. He said it disappoints him to look at someone’s personal library and not see any new books since seminary. There continue to be lots of new ideas after formal education. There should be sifting and winnowing. His main message was to keep our minds active, to not stop challenging yourself, to explore new areas and ideas.
I took him too literally. I have more books about ministry than I can read. I’d have to read one book a week for multiple years to exhaust my unread stack.
Continuing education is an important want to challenge ourselves mentally. If you do not feel the need to continue to grow within your job, then learn how to grow spiritually, physically or in relationships. Identify an area of your life (fitness, finances, how to do something, etc.) that you would like to improve. Find three books in this area to buy, borrow or loan from the library and read them in the next two months. Reflect back about what you learned from this. If reading is not your best way of learning, attend a conference, join a group or do research on the internet. There are countless ways to easily expand knowledge.
Continued learning is not to become a smarty-pants. It is to keep ourselves intellectually motivated and challenged. Our brains need exercise, just like our bodies. Please, do not let learning stop at graduation. Decide you are going to grow in an exciting area this next year. And then do it.
Lord God, help keep us humble. Help us realize that our days of growing and learning still abound. Make known to us specific ways you want us to grow and learn in the next few months. Help us see how we can find the time, the resources and the desire to keep our brains fit to serve you. Amen.
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