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Sacha Guitry said, What little I know, I owe to my ignorance. If necessity is the mother of invention, then ignorancesimply not knowingis the mother of learning. Its this feeling of inadequacy that drives us to the Bible, books or to lifes experiences with an eye toward learning.
The toughest, most resistant student is the one who thinks he or she already knows it all and feels no need to pursue his or her studies any further. Maybe its this attitude that moved a friend of mine to assert (with his tongue in his cheek, sort of), that preachers should quit_retire, get out of the business_ at age forty. Did he write this becausewith a degree and about twenty years of study under our hatswe feel we have everything figured out and have all the answers to deep theological questions and life problems tucked away in our cerebral hard drives? Probably. One of the occupational hazards of preaching (and I can say this because I are one) is that a little learning may take the edge off our intellectual hunger. In some cases intellectual anorexia is spiritually fatal.
|What little I know, I owe to my ignorance.|
Paul wrote about some people who were always learning but never able to acknowledge the truth (II Timothy 3:7) This squares with a later remark made by William James. He said, A great many people think they are thinking when they are merely rearranging their prejudices. Had James sat in some of our Bible study groups?
I know this sounds crazy but most of Jesus confrontations were with religious people who knew too much. First there were the Pharisees. They knew they had completely mastered Gods law. They knew all their little dos and donts were Gods will. These proud, spiritually elite folks had God in a box and their biases chiseled in stone. Even Jesus couldnt move them.
Then there were the Sadducees. They knew there was no resurrection. As far as they were concerned, spirits or angels didnt exist, either. Many of the things Jesus taught went right over their heads.
Even Jesus closest disciples knew Jesus didnt have time for children. But he gently rebuked them as he said, Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these. And speaking of children, did Jesus bless childrenin spite of their immature selfishnessbecause they are natural learners? I believe so. Children know they dont know and arent ashamed of it. The endless questions they ask reflect their wide-eyed wonder and hungry minds on the cutting edge of learning.
Heres my point: Christians who want truth and spiritual life cant afford the I-have-arrived attitude. So dont put the lid on your mind. Continue to search the Scriptures and be ready to change your mind and behavior whenever you discover or rediscover some truth of God.
No doubt about it, ignorance isnt half bad if you know how to use it. Thank God if you are aware of gaps in your knowledgeyoure ready to learn. At best, spiritual self-satisfaction closes the mind to future spiritual growth and learning. Or worse yet, as one man put it, He that is not aware of his ignorance will only be misled by his knowledge.
HEARTLIGHT(R) Magazine is a ministry of loving Christians and the Westover Hills church of Christ.
Edited by Phil Ware and Paul Lee.
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Article Copyright 1998, Dennis Crawford. Used by permission.
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