Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path…My heart is set on keeping your decrees to the very end. – Psalm 119:105
Men are notorious for not reading instructions. They don’t want to read the map or ask directions. We laugh and many sitcoms have used this premise as the basis for a comic situation. “How foolish of him to be so arrogant as to think he can go it alone!” we think. What is it that makes us feel this way?
We learn as children that to learn something, we must ask someone older, wiser than ourselves. Ideally, this lesson would stick with us as we mature, but sadly, many of us feel we have become that older, wiser person we used to question. We feel we have learned all that is necessary.
The day after I earned my first-degree black belt, I was allowed to go to the head sensei’s class for the first time. He only taught black belts and then the black belts taught the rest of the students. Now I was a black belt and had earned the privilege of attending the senior classes. As I entered the hall, another higher-ranking black belt signaled for me to come over. You see, in our dojo, a senior student could ask you to practice any move with him and you had to obey. It allowed the senior student constant access to somebody with whom to practice. It also allowed the lower ranking student to see moves he would not normally get to see. I thought he wanted to welcome me to the hallowed ranks of the seniors. Boy, was I right! He signaled he wanted to spar. I bowed, and that was pretty much the last thing I remember, except for the brief flashes of floor and ceiling I saw as I was being thrown around like a rag doll. As I lay on the floor afterwards, trying to figure out which way was up, he leaned over my prostrate body and smiled. “The learning only begins with the black belt,” he said. Then he walked away.
I’ve never forgotten that lesson. I am never too old or too advanced to be able to learn something from someone. I have achieved the rank of a fifth-degree black belt and there is still much to learn in the art of jiu-jitsu. I am now a pastor of a church and there is still much to learn from my parishioners and my fellow pastors. But why not skip all the senior students and go straight to the head sensei? Can you imagine what you could learn at the hands of the Master Himself?
How about you? Are you trying to journey through life without a guide? The Bible is filled with instruction and help for you. It has all you need to know to have a good trip through life.
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