When can we Throw Away our ‘L’ Plates?
In order to keep growing, we need to keep living in the vulnerability of staying teachable. Hard that, when a part of us wants to appear as though we’ve got it all together, we’ve arrived; that we KNOW that! And when we admit we DON’T know that, there’s always the risk of appearing foolish!
It’s no coincidence that the word “disciple” literally means a learner. In the beginning, as an eager disciple, that’s easy, because it’s all so new; noone expects us to know anything and we’re hungry to learn and grow, and its all so exciting! But then, somehow, when we’ve been learning a long time, we think that we ought to be spiritually mature, and our pride tells us we mustn’t still be seen as having ‘L’ plates. Prov 19:27 says ‘My child, when you stop learning, you will soon forget what you already know’. In other words, it’s only as we keep open to fresh understanding, always learning, always applying what we learn to life as it is for us, that we are taught how to ‘grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord’
It’s one of the disciplines of discipleship, part of our learning to follow Jesus, and become more like him. Apparently, GK Chesterton said, “If a thing is worth doing, it is worth doing … badly”; to be teachable means we are willing to welcome our mistakes because that’s how we learn and grow – that only when we don’t learn from it, does a mistake remain a mistake. During our time at Ashburnham, one of the things I really admired about Tim Pain’s teaching was that he would suddenly say out front, “This time last year I was saying…………, but now I’ve come to believe I was wrong, and that this passage really means………..”
So if we find it hard to admit how little we know, and how much we’ve still got to learn, maybe it would be easier to turn our focus away from ourselves and instead onto our Teacher, who is gentle and humble in heart, and learn from Him (Matt.11:29-30). Now that’s the sort of Teacher I want to follow for the rest of my life, and the classroom I want to spend a lot of time in!