“The Jews were astonished at it, saying, ‘How does this man have such learning, when he has never been taught?’” (John 7:15)
Some of the smartest people I’ve ever met, did not have fancy degrees. My father-in-law was one of the smartest men I’ve ever met. He was a mechanic on huge machinery. He would drive to a location and fix construction trucks, for example, whose tires were twice his six-foot-plus frame. As technology transformed, so did his ability to keep up. The manuals he had to read and keep for reference were each the size of the Chicago phone book. He was also well read in many other areas as well. All this from a man who went to “country schools” and only finished eighth grade.
My father-in-law, Bob Henry, was also wise in other ways as well. He taught Sunday school and was an Elder in his Presbyterian Church. Bob was respected and was a trusted person in his community. He and his wife figured out how to raise four children on his one, blue-collar income. All four children went to college. Two graduated with four-year degrees, another with a two-year degree and the fourth had a successful career with an aerospace corporation. Bob’s grandchildren have also been successful and educated individuals.
I share this devotional, not simply to brag about a father-in-law whom I love and respect, but because he is a reminder that learning comes in many different ways. When we look around, we can see people continuing to learn without the need for a fancy diploma on the wall. Drake offers the Ray Society. Many of us take The Great Courses to continue our education. Learning doesn’t end when we finish High School, College, or Grad School.
As people of faith, our learning must continue. Christians are known as people of the Book. That Book shouldn’t just collect dust on a shelf in our den, but be opened, studied and questioned. Other books should be read to help us interpret the Bible. Right now I am reading a book by the great scholar, Dr. Bart Ehrman entitled “Misquoting Jesus.” It is an interesting read. Learning should never stop. Through learning, the Holy Spirit speaks to our souls. As we prepare for the New Year, make a commitment to read a book per month in 2017. Further, every other month, make it a religious book that stretches mind and faith. Let the Spirit take you to new places in the mind. It isn’t about titles and degrees. It is about commitment and wisdom. If Bob can do it, so can you!