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Why Do We Learn?

Have you ever asked yourself why you learn things? Most of us want to learn a little something in life. Some seek to learn and others just catch things when they fly by. We send our children to school so they can learn things that will make their lives better and more productive. Some of us will go to a higher level of learning at one institution or another later in life. Perhaps it is because we need a degree to get a particular job or to help us keep the one we have.

Education can have a couple of directions in various people’s lives. It can be a source of personal growth or it can be a form of entertainment. For some, knowledge is helpful to make life better. For others, it is power that, in some ways, can give them dominion over others.

Why do we learn? Well, let’s put it another way. Since preaching and teaching is a main stay in the church, why do we attend these sessions? Do we do it because it is required or because it is helpful? Some even demand that the speaker, usually the preacher, step up to the plate and hit a “home run” every time he speaks. Or, if the “home runs” become fewer and fewer, it is time for him to be replaced. I know that throughout history, Babe Ruth was known as the home run king. Most people do not associate the “strike outs” that out numbered his home runs. They focus mostly on the “height” of the events. And to tell you the truth, home runs are much more entertaining than strike outs. Can you imagine saying to your family, “Hey ya’ll, lets get dressed and go to the ball park and watch Babe Ruth (or whoever) strike out. That will be a great adventure for us.” I think not. Can you see a child looking at his father at the ball park and asking excitedly, “Dad, do you think he will strike out for us again today?”

We often expect much when we gather to learn, and rightly, we should. But, there is another facet of education that must go along with that expectation. What are we going to do with what we learn. If what we learn does not change us in some way, what good is it? Why sit hour after hour gathering what you may consider boring information?

Do we seek to know things so that we can say, “I know this and you don’t,” thus giving me some kind of power over you? Or, do we seek to learn because it empowers us to understand more completely how to live better and serve God more faithfully?

One phrase that has been heard perhaps more than any other from the lips of people leaving a church assembly is staggering. “I didn’t get anything out of that.” Did you ever know of a miner of gold to leave his claim because he went to the mine one day and came out with nothing. Sometimes you have to spend a whole lot of time digging through the seemingly unimportant to find that one precious nugget. And, once one little nugget is found, with even more tenacity he will dig through the rubble to find even more.

That which we learn should be something that makes our lives better. Our goal of seeking should be that we can see God more clearly to help us love Him more dearly and follow Him more nearly. Knowledge, as the Apostle Paul said, “puffs up.” It can actually make us some pretty awful people. On the other hand, it can hone and sharpen us to the point that we can cut through life in a more true and precise way. It can assist us in helping others and fulfilling the role God has given each of us while we live here on this earth.

Maybe we should become more like miners who are willing to sift dirt in a pan of water or dig with a pick and shovel day after day just waiting for the time a little sparkle will appear. And, even then, it is not the end but only the beginning. If we receive one little speck of a word that makes our lives more productive for the cause of Christ when we gather, we have done well. And, if we gather for weeks on end and plunder through the dirt and rubble, we have not lost a thing. We have only removed more of that which covers the precious nuggets of God’s Word, making us rich in the knowledge of Him, which in turn, will make our lives even more rich in productive in His service.

Why do you learn?